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Gallifreyan (language)

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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. (TV: The Time of Angels, A Good Man Goes to War)

Old High Gallifreyan

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)

The written form of Old High Gallifreyan resembled, to human eyes, a mixture of Greek letters and mathematical symbols.

Inside the Tomb of Rassilon in the Death Zone on Gallifrey, an old rhyme was written in "Old High Gallifreyan," which explained the outcome of the "Game of Rassilon". (TV: The Five Doctors)

This text included the letters δ³Σx², which was given as the Doctor's name in the 1972 behind-the-scenes book The Making of Doctor Who by Terrance Dicks and Malcolm Hulke.

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)

The First Doctor wrote his Five Hundred Year Diary in High Gallifreyan to make sure no one else could read it. (PROSE: The Power of the Daleks)

River Song could write in Old High Gallifreyan. (TV: The Time of Angels)

The word "valeyard" was said to mean "learned court prosecutor." (TV: The Trial of a Time Lord)

"Mi’en Kalarash" translated as "Blue Fire." (AUDIO: House of Blue Fire)

The Fifth Doctor once spoke a sentence in Gallifreyan to Patience, who recognised it. To Adric's ears the speech sounded musical, like a nursery rhyme. (PROSE: |Cold Fusion)

Modern Gallifreyan

DA Doctors message

An example of Gallifreyan script written by the Fourth Doctor. (TV: The Deadly Assassin)

While Old High Gallifreyan was the original language of the Time Lords, it had evolved into a different form by the time of the Doctor. (TV: The Five Doctors)

Circular Gallifreyan

Gallifreyan could also be written using interlocking circles, hexagons and lines, at least by the time of the Last Great Time War. (TV: The End of Time)

Written gallifreyan2

An example of the interlocking/overlapping circles. (TV: Utopia)

TARDIS Monitor 11b

Gallifreyan text on the TARDIS monitor. in TV: The Snowmen

Behind the scenes

  • 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 τηεψ ωερε αλλ ωεαρινγ εψεπατχηεσ.' The passage doesn't actually mean anything in Greek, but if transliterated letter-by-letter to English the passage becomes 'And I turned around and they were all wearing eyepatches,' a sly reference to the infamous Eyepatch Story.

External links

  • "Old High Gallifreyan": an article by Jon Preddle on Gallifreyan writing as it appeared in the series pre-2005

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