|Ten Rules For The Gallifreyan Language|
Ten Rules For The Gallifreyan Language
Aug. 3rd, 2008 @ 11:36 am
As proof that I spent far, far too much time thinking about this, I present a corollary to Lost In Translation: my Ten Rules for the Gallifreyan Language.|
As it happens, it was working these out that spawned Lost In Translation. See, world-building can be rewarding after all.
1. Gallifreyans only evolved a language when it became necessary to discuss concepts which could not be adequately expressed telepathically, such as quantum physics.
2. As a result, many of its oldest words sound like frustrated grunts and clucks to most other species.
3. After a while, this speaking thing began to catch on in everyday use, and, as languages do, new words were hijacked from the old ones.
4. Unfortunately, whereas most cultures have hijacked their everyday vocabularies to discuss science, Gallifreyans were forced to hijack their scientific vocabulary to discuss, for example, the weather or the location of their missing left socks.
Example of 4: 'sock' is a compound word which translates roughly to 'item of clothing woven from wool and commonly worn on the feet'. Unfortunately, 'wool', 'clothing' and 'foot' are also all compound words.
Discussing the weather is much easier, but you'll never hear 'I think it's going to rain' when a discussion of the barometric pressure and current air humidity is so much simpler and shorter.
4. Short-form words for basic, vital concepts - 'yes', 'no', 'time' and a numbering system - were added artificially at a much later date, to general rejoicing. This is still regarded as one of the finest achievements of Rassilon.
5. Names, like basic concepts, were not needed until a spoken vocabulary entered common use. This caused a small problem due to the superstitious belief - which was likely still based in fact at the time - that if someone had your name, they could control you. This led to a number of circumventing measures:
i. Use a nickname: Theta Sigma, Mortimus, Draxx
ii. Use an alias: the Doctor, the Master, the Rani
iii. Make your name so long that nobody can ever remember it: Romanadvoratrelundar
iv. Use an alias which is so long that nobody can remember it.
6. 'Doctor' began as a compound word and shortened over time due to the frequent need to say it quickly when people collapse. The word for 'Doctor' is 'hu'.
7. There is a different set of personal pronouns for each life a Time Lord has, and part of the regenerative process includes rewriting their language centre so that they will remember to use the latest one. This makes it very easy to discuss past or future selves, even when they are in the room.
8. Gallifreyan has thirty tenses, fifteen of which are for discussing alternate universes caused by events discussed in the other fifteen. It is not uncommon for Time Lords, when discussing the future, to suddenly shift into an alternate-universe tense.
9. The swearword equivalent to 'fuck' is also the only word for 'fixed point'. Other curses include 'random fluctuations in the time-space continuum' and 'Dalek'.
10. Many concepts, particularly those relating to emotions, can still only be expressed telepathically.
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