Tuesday Whosday

Fans of Doctor Who — be they called by the BBC-sanctioned title “Whovian” or the less formal “TARDs” — are certainly aware that the written language of the Time Lords is Gallifreyan, a lovely script composed of interlocking circles and lines that looks more like a crop-circle construction problem from the twelfth book of Euclid’s Elements than a form of language.

We’ve see examples of it, for example, on the TARDIS console screen

or on the Doctor’s (and the Master’s) pocket watch

We’ve even seen the Doctor’s real name spelled out in on the side of his crib

which I think would make an awesome tattoo if I were ever so inclined as to get one.

Unfortunately, unlike Futurama with its multiple alien languages or Star Trek with Klingon, there is no officially sanctioned Doctor Who methodology for translating  Gallifreyan into English (or vice versa).  Fortunately, however, there are industrious people out there who have decided to take on the task themselves, and have put together impressive and beautiful systems for converting English into Gallifreyan-esque symbols.

My favorite belongs to Loren Sherman, who has put together something called circular Gallifreyan, which allows English sentences to be converted into single circle designs, and then allows “paragraphs” to be formed by overlaying the circles.  Sherman’s site includes a 5-page guide to circular Gallifreyan and a downloadable translator that will convert single sentences into circular Gallifreyan.  (There’s also a nice wiki at Time Turners.)  For example, Doctor Who? becomes

while the corresponding answer A madman with a box becomes

and the ever-popular Bow ties are cool is rendered as

All I can say is

That’s Circular Gallifreyan is one hell of an impressive act of nerdery.

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