Is Gallifreyan a Conlang, an Artlang, or Neither?

Is Gallifreyan a Conlang?

We’d ordered our coffee then stepped into the adjacent room in the coffee shop in Crown Point when my grandson pointed and asked, “Is that a Gallifreyan?”

When I turned to look where he was offering his appreciative stare, I saw a wall of paintings, prints, graphics, and abstracts. But wait, he called that a Gallifreyan?

Jeremiah is 22 years old and knows ALL about these, what I thought remote bits of trivia, and it wasn’t until I approached the painting and he began to explain the intricacies of the canvas that I began to grasp that he was discussing a language, not an abstract technique. A language? Who would know that?! Well, he would, of course.

Ah, tis the beginning of another odyssey into what, even at this age, I still didn’t know.

Conlang? Sorta, but not.

The Gallifreyan language stemmed from the popular British TV show Doctor Who. It was spoken by the Time Lords of Gallifrey. The funny part is that the language wasn’t created by the originators of Dr. Who but by a fan, Loren Sherman. In fact, it is not a real language and is not used by the show. But I was fascinated.

Gallifreyan vowels
Vowel chart.

It is an artistic way of writing English words based on a clock. The Circular Gallifreyan alphabet even follows MOST of the rules of written English but uses characters rather than letters. Phrases are joined via circles. It can get complicated, learning to join letters and phrases to complete a sentence. (For in-depth instruction including graphs and charts, see WikiHow.)  A simple word is contained within one circle, such as my name (painstakingly created over five hours–yeah–five hours! Hope you LIKE it!). Well, then, I wonder if it would be called Artlang. No? Can you “read” it?

My name in Gallifreyan

There are blogs, pins on Pinterest, long lists of YouTube videos a minute to more than two hours, and countless alphabet charts and, unfortunately, more than one translation cipher on the subject. But I could not find one stat for popularity numbers. Granted, it’s a mesmerizing study and research discovered that conlang (constructed languages) exist owing their creation by novel authors such as J. R. R. Tolkien, well-rated TV series, and movies. Anyone speak Klingon?

Klingon is actually classified an artistic conlang, as is Dothraki (Games of Thrones), and Mangani from the Tarzan novels. A number of conlangs have been developed recently for such specialized films as Star Wars (Huttese) and Avatar (Na’vi). There are four categories of constructed languages, which is a language that has been “consciously devised,” not naturally developed, and these include auxiliary, ritual, engineered, and artistic.

Of course, probably the most well-known constructed language is Esperanto, which was intended to be the second language of the whole world, originally published by ophthalmologist Ludwik L. Zamenhof in 1887. Repopularized largely in part by the internet and refined for today, Esperanto II is enjoying a fan base of more than two million people worldwide.

Are these constructed languages gaining interest? Enjoying a narrow margin according to media popularity? Certainly a millennial will recognize a Gallifreyan faster than I, but I’m sure you can remember many words or phrases of a conlang. If so–what is your favorite? Attribution for the graphic Gallifreyan in my title: Clinton & Leslie Mason ©2018 V Williams V Williams

Author: Rosepoint Publishing

I am the granddaughter of Patrick John "Stanley McShane" Rose whose books including "Cocos Island Treasure" I've recently published. My time is now spent in reading, reviewing, and writing bookish articles. I'm looking forward to sharing this social media odyssey with you!

11 thoughts on “Is Gallifreyan a Conlang, an Artlang, or Neither?”

  1. Well, I’d never heard of Gallifreyan as a language, and I can’t “read” your name – but I love it! I used to know a few words of Klingon, but you know how it is – if you don’t speak it often enough, you lose it, and it’s been a while since I met any Klingons… 😉

    Like

    1. Thank you–I had fun with it and submitted twice to my grandson for his approval or correction. He’d say, no that line has to be open and the O above the line, not in it. Gees…I totally chucked the first one–couldn’t fix it. Much happier with this one–even still, was three edit fixes.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Also, as someone who was able to speak a few phrases in Huttese and Ewok (I was a huge Star Wars fan until George Lucas ruined the franchise…) I’m all for different colangs! I find them fascinating!! I never really looked into Gallifreyan much (even though I am quite the Whoovian as well!) but, I understand the thought begind it being an artlang… It’s also a conlang too…. Maybe a conartlang?? No, that sounds like it’s made up by a con artist…. Which, I suppose it kind of is! Lol! They’re trying to con us into taking as a language, are they not?? …. I REALLY need to stop reading posts at 4am! It’s not good for anybody!! 😂😂

    Like

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