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Learn to write Gallifreyan in 9 simple steps

Illustration for article titled Learn to write Gallifreyan in 9 simple steps

You may never become a Time Lord — but least you can learn to write in their elegant, intricate language. There's no "official" lexicon to the circular Gallifreyan script we've seen in Doctor Who, but Loren Sherman has a guide to writing in it. It looks cool, and it can be your own private code.

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While Sherman's site has an in-depth guide to the language, there's also an animated nine-panel guide that's an excellent primer (plus, it gives you the always useful Gallifreyan phrase "Bowties are cool"):

Illustration for article titled Learn to write Gallifreyan in 9 simple steps
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The language, while looking really complicated, isn't actually completely time-consuming. Sherman's guide on Gallifreyan math, on the other hand, is much more complicated. But for those who just want a quick way to render something into Gallifreyan, Sherman's site also has a downloadable translator. Here's the translation of "io9" it produced:

Illustration for article titled Learn to write Gallifreyan in 9 simple steps

Sherman also has her own interpretation of what's all over the TARDIS in the top image:

What does the Gallifreyan in this episode translate to?

Nothing, unfortunately. In Doctor Who, they just draw random cool-looking circles for Gallifreyan. In my mind, these circles are all names of Time Lords, because their true names can’t be expressed in the English language.

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Now that doesn't sound like the details-obsessed people who work on Doctor Who to us.

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DISCUSSION

Corpore Metal

Now see? This is stuff the thwarted conlang geek in me grooves on.

Alien writing that works in ways that are very counter to most human writing. Although Gallifreyan does sort of remind me of the way written Mayan works—I think.

Someone correct me on this: Do Mayan words build themselves on prior symbols like this, with each completed word being a composite of all the overlaid symbols?