Excellent observation…I totally forgot about the Doctor’s Cradle having The Doctor’s name; his children’s names; and his grandchildren’s names carved into it!

They’re written in circular Gallifreyan, and as I observed previously here (x) there’s circular Gallifreyan behind the English translations.

The TARDIS does not translate written Circular or Old High Gallifreyan.


 TARDISestranslation circuits translated neither Old High Gallifreyan nor Gallifreyan written in the Doctor’s time. (TVThe Time of AngelsA Good Man Goes to War)

And the language on The Doctor Cradle does not translate, nor does the circular Gallifreyan behind the labels on these Encyclopedia bottles:

But it translates the other writing on the labels, which can only be Old High Gallifreyan (it’s ancient Gallifreyan technology. We can hear the recorded voice of Timothy Dalton (Rassilon),)…which means the History Of The Time War book is likely to be in the same language, which only The Doctor and perhaps a few others, (River has never revealed how much she does know of it), can read.


Old High Gallifreyan was the ancient language of the Time Lords. It was not known by many; by the Doctor’s era, it was virtually extinct, superseded by modern Gallifreyan. The Eleventh Doctor claimed that Old High Gallifreyan once possessed immense power when correctly harnessed, such as raising empires or destroying gods. (TV:The Time of Angels)

The written form of Old High Gallifreyan resembled, to human eyes, a mixture of Greek letters and mathematical symbols.

How does this fit in with Clara knowing this language? Someone said that she may have breathed in the fumes from the spilt bottle…but that’s not possible for her to learn the language that way.

I put it to the thought that if, if, Clara is a Time Lady or a Higher Being, she can read the language…and that’s why we see it, because Clara has broken the fourth wall with the viewers before. (Remember her looking to the camera at the end of Asylum Of The Daleks.)

We don’t know anything about The Doctor’s First Wife, but, Romana worked as a historian in the Panopticon in the citadel, she would have been well versed in Old High Gallifreyan. Perhaps another Time Lady who worked in a similar profession would also be able to read the language.

But, and this is where the theories about Clara being Jenny fail, it is an language that is virtually dead, even before it’s speakers were Time Locked. Much like Ancient Greek or Latin, it can be taught, but it takes years; and it was not encouraged on Gallifrey.

River probably only learnt it from The Doctor himself.

(The Doctor probably only knows it himself because he said he was fortunate enough to have learn it. Probably because of his his Mentor Borusa, (who may have also been his grandfather.))

So there is little doubt the labels were in Old High Gallifreyan, as for the book and The Doctor’s name…it’s very possible because The Doctor wrote it, he wrote it in the same virtually dead language.

And the reason he left it for Clara to possible stumble over? I’ll leave that up to you. But, personally? Time Lords are telepathic beings, and I think The Doctor knows something about Clara he hasn’t actually voiced.

(And I think we just got a big clue from a big bug. I’ll get to that in a moment.)

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