Gallifreyan was a Gallifreyan language used by the Time Lords. There were several forms of written Gallifreyan. By the time of the Doctor, the archaic Old High Gallifreyan language used in the days of Rassilon had changed considerably. (TV: The Five Doctors) TARDISes' translation circuits translated neither Old High Gallifreyan nor Gallifreyan written in the Doctor's time. (PROSE: The Price of Paradise, TV: The Time of Angels, A Good Man Goes to War)
Old High Gallifreyan Edit
Old High Gallifreyan was the ancient language of the Time Lords. It was not known by many by the Doctor's era. (TV: The Five Doctors) When speaking of the immense power of his ancestors, the Eleventh Doctor stated that Old High Gallifreyan once possessed the power to raise empires and destroy gods. (TV: The Time of Angels) He later stated that Old High Gallifreyan had tenses that aided in speaking about time travel. (PROSE: Borrowed Time)
The written form of Old High Gallifreyan resembled, to human eyes, a mixture of Greek letters and mathematical symbols.
Within the Doctor's rooms on the Gallifrey of one universe, there was a painting of a woman holding a scroll with the words "Death is but a door" written in High Gallifreyan. (PROSE: The Infinity Doctors)
Modern Gallifreyan Edit
The Seventh Doctor left a calling card for the Supreme Dalek in a script other than English. It appeared to include the Greek characters Theta Sigma (TV: Remembrance of the Daleks), which had been an old nickname of the Doctor's. (TV: The Armageddon Factor)
Circular Gallifreyan Edit
A complex system of interlocking circles was used by the Doctor's TARDIS output screens in "coral desktop theme" mode and was seen in the notes that the Doctor scattered around the console room. (TV: Rose onwards)
Simpler handwritten circles appeared on the Betamax tape used by the Tenth Doctor to trap the Wire. The circular text, since scribbled over, presumably stated the tape's contents. (TV: The Idiot's Lantern)
Captain Jack Harkness's office in the Torchwood Hub had windows with circular Gallifreyan engraved on them. (TV: Everything Changes - Children of Earth: Day One) However, these were likely destroyed when a bomb was implanted in him without his knowledge and used to blow up the Hub once he was inside. (TV: Children of Earth: Day One)
The envelope from the Eleventh Doctor inviting River Song to Lake Silencio, and a page from the 1,103-year-old Eleventh Doctor's TARDIS diary, were written in Circular Gallifreyan. (TV: The Impossible Astronaut)
The Whisper Men showed Clarence DeMarco a map that he had to memorise in Circular Gallifreyan that they demanded he give to Madame Vastra. (HOMEVID: Clarence and the Whispermen) These were space-time coordinates which led to Trenzalore, the final resting place of the Doctor following the Siege of Trenzalore. (TV: The Name of the Doctor)
Behind the scenes Edit
- The number system in circular Gallifreyan, as seen in the chapter headings of the New Series Adventures, was in base seven.
- The Gallifreyan spoken by the Doctor in Cold Fusion is represented in the text by Greek type: "Ανδ Ι τυρνεδ αρουνδ ανδ τηευ ςερε αλλ ςεαρινγ ευεπατψηεσ." The passage doesn't actually mean anything in Greek, but if transliterated letter-by-letter to English in the Symbol font the passage becomes "And I turned around and they were all wearing eyepatches," a sly reference to the infamous Eyepatch Story.
- While none of the Gallifreyan languages used in the show have been given translations, numerous translatable fan made versions have been made.
- A version of Circular Gallifreyan was created by Doctor Who fan Lorna Sherman. Despite being fan made, it has made its way onto official Doctor Who merchandise, including one symbol on Arianna Florean's Cover D of The Tragical History Tour: Part 2. The Gallifreyan was created by DeviantArt user phantoms-siren, and is the iconic Sherlock Holmes quote, "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth!"
- "Old High Gallifreyan": an article by Jon Preddle on Gallifreyan writing as it appeared in the series pre-2005