By Bryan Stearns
Whovians have always wanted to read it ever since it first graced our screens.
Unfortunately, there is no official way to read or write Circular Gallifreyan. That's where the fans step in!
One day I searched around to see what kinds of fan-made writing systems were out there, and I was not satisfied with any of them. This one was too impractical, that one too hard to read, and so on. So on the spur of the moment I decided to create my own system of writing that is both logical and readable AND looks like the writing that appears on the show (focusing on the recent writing on the Tardis interior).
This version of CG is based on phonetics, not strictly on English or its rules. Thus there is no "c" or "y", as those sounds can be made with other letters. "Doctor Who" might be written as "Doktor Hoo" or "Doktor Hu". The letters themselves are arranged by their location in the mouth and by the "severity" of the sound. The smaller the symbol, the closer it is to the front of the mouth, and the more rings it has the more prolonged/pressed the sound.
A primary feature of this system is that it can read from any angle (which seems a must for a circular language, right?). Another benefit of this system is the inherent support of multidimensional tenses. Individual words, or even letters, can contain varying layers of different tenses (Time Lords need to express themselves in wibbly-wobbly moments too). This allows the writing to convey much more depth of meaning than with normal spoken words, making up for the extra real-estate required for circles.
The number system is fairly simple, but has the potential to perhaps support more complex mathematical operations should someone choose to explore that. (suggestions are welcome :) ) It is based closely on the symbols that appear on the Tardis console.
As mentioned, this variant of CG is meant more for functionality, not necessarily for visual 'coolness', though it's not too shabby. Other methods of CG do a good job at aesthetics, and I have no intention of trying to replace them. Much of the inspiration for this CG did come from those other versions I encountered.
If you have any suggestions or ideas for ways to expand on this CG, you can email me at email@example.com.
Feel free to use and distribute this any way you please, but if you use it for anything commercial I would like credit. (and letting me know would be nice. :) )
I made an html5 program to translate words to Gallifreyan, which you can try here. It's not perfect, but it works pretty well. (it only supports single sentences right now)
Here is the translation guide! (click to enlarge) Enjoy!
EDIT: 1-23-2013, Remade translation guide for easier read; added middle-sized symbol marker; alteration to exponentiation system