|Now||2018||Previous||Articles||Road Essays||Road Reviews||Author||Title||Source||Age||Genre||Series||Format||Inclusivity||LGBTA||Portfolio|
The Gallifreyan Roundabout or Circular thinking and navigation: 08/13/15
If you're anything of a Whovian, you know that Gallifreyan is a circular language (although in the older series it was first written as maths and hieratic script). By that I mean the words are written like pieces of clockwork within the circumference of a circle. As an American Doctor Who fan I didn't think much about the language beyond obviously clockwork connection (if you've ever taken apart anything that runs with springs and gears, you'll know what I mean).
After a week of navigating through three parts of the United Kingdom: London (primarily on rail), Cambridge (primarily in taxi) and Cardiff (primarily on foot), I see a bigger connection between the language of the Time Lords and the basic British mental map.
Circles are everywhere in the British landscape. Look at the Underground's logo. Then there's the Circle Line which doesn't exactly go in a circle — it's really more like the subway version of a yo-yo. Above ground there are the numerous roundabouts.
Cambridge, built around the meandering Cam and other waterways seems to be nothing but a series of interlocking roundabouts. Every single time we hired a taxi to take us into town we took a different but circuitous route. It was really like the taxi was trying to find the correct transfer orbit for that day's conditions. Then throughout the nation, the road signs are primarily circular, compared to the US and Canada's obsession with square or rectangular signs.
Cardiff, home of the Doctor Who Experience and BBC Cymru, where the series is filmed, is actually less circular obsessed than Cambridge. I think part of that is two fold: it's relative size and its recent reshaping as a modern city. Cardiff is also right at the ocean's edge so its geography is different.
None the less, Cardiff has it's own circle obsessions, like it's "Magic Roundabout" (with fantastic road sign inspired artwork). And of course it has Doctor Who and lots of touristy things that can be purchased in Gallifreyan or Welsh.