Obdormio.com Unwasted Hours

16 August, 2012

Indulging Geeky Habits

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Obdormio @ 00:00

Gallifreyan circle writing

OK, admittedly, this post is going to be me indulging in a bit of weird geekery.

I am a big fan of the TV series Doctor Who. I am one of those Johnny-come-latelies who only started with the modern series, but I am trying to round out my Whovian education by going back and watching a bunch of the old series – it’s slow going, but it’s there.

But that’s not the point of this post. As xkcd has just pointed out, there’s always a geekier level further down.

The modern series of Doctor Who has at several points featured writing in the Gallifreyan language, the native tongue of the main character. These samples of writing have been circles, interlocking in patterns. It looks pretty cool. I assume the people who put it in – would that be set dressing, I wonder? – have some sort of system to make it more than just random circles. At least I hope so. I think I recall someone saying in a DVD commentary that there was one. Of course, if there is one, we the viewers don’t know what it is, because it hasn’t been released. This is where we descend one level deeper – not just Doctor Whoand fictional writing systems, we enter the realm of rampant fandom and the home-made variety.

Some clever cat of a doctor who fan actually sat down and worked out a usable script of circle patterns. His website seems to be down for the moment, but there’s a pretty good explanation of the script here. Now, it’s not really a script with a particular language in mind, it’s mostly just an elaborate cypher for the Latin alphabet – but good enough to include separate glyphs for digraphs like ng, th, sh and ch, and it drops c, so there’s some movement towards phonetic transcription. Since I am not yet quite at the level below, where you’d actually learn Gallifreyan, a cypher is enough of a toy for me. I love this thing, it looks cool and very Who-y. Here’s the name of this blog:

Gallifreyan circle writing

Like I said, this post is mostly just indulging the geekery. Lookit the pretty pictures! I’ve always had a bit of an interest in constructed languages and the constructed scripts that go with them – and as a relevant aside, have a look at Omniglot some time – but this is the first one that’s got me sitting there just playing around with making pretty circles.

Gallifreyan circle writing

Go on, have a go transliterating that back into English! It’s not as hard as it looks. And it’s fun!

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