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. (TV: The Five Doctors) 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)
When spoken, Old High Gallifreyan sounded musical to human ears. (PROSE: Cold Fusion, The Cabinet of Light) Honoré Lechasseur perceived a conversation between the Doctor and Mestizer as a song with gibberish words, (PROSE: The Cabinet of Light) and when the Fifth Doctor spoke Old High Gallifreyan with Patience, Adric compared it to a nursery rhyme. (PROSE: Cold Fusion) An old rhyme in Old High Gallifreyan, explaining the outcome of the Game of Rassilon, was written on the wall of the Tomb of Rassilon in the Death Zone on Gallifrey. (TV: The Five Doctors)
The written form of Old High Gallifreyan resembled, to human eyes, a mixture of Greek letters and mathematical symbols. (TV: The Five Doctors) Marnal manipulated his bottle universe with controls labelled in a language that looked like Greek, but he clarified that it was the "Gallifreyan omegabet." (PROSE: The Gallifrey Chronicles)
The Seventh Doctor claimed that all the best computer programs, such as the one his TARDIS used, were written in ancient High Gallifreyan. (PROSE: Timewyrm: Genesys) On Planet Wet, the Twelfth Doctor wrote a Trojan virus in Ancient High Gallifreyan. (PROSE: Buyer's Remorse)
Old High Gallifreyan was forgotten by all but a few in the Doctor's era. (TV: The Five Doctors) "Mi'en Kalarash" was known to mean as "Blue Fire", (AUDIO: House of Blue Fire) and "valeyard" was said to translate as "learned court prosecutor". (TV: The Mysterious Planet) 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) and Susan Foreman used it to write the Doctor's real name on the wrapping paper of a hypercube intended for him. (PROSE: Ghost of Christmas Past)
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
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 design for circular Gallifreyan, popular throughout the BBC Wales series, was devised by graphic artist Jenny Bowers, for the Ninth Doctor's TARDIS in series 1.
- 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.
- None of the Gallifreyan languages used in the show have been given translations.
- A version of Circular Gallifreyan created by Doctor Who fan Loren Sherman 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!"
- An old rhyme inside the Tomb of Rassilon included the letters ∂³∑x², 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.
- "Old High Gallifreyan": an article by Jon Preddle on Gallifreyan writing as it appeared in the series pre-2005