Almarri is an agglutinative language – this means that it’ll have some really long words, because entire phrases can be a single word. This completely and utterly unlike English.
For example, I’m going to make up a word for “someone who teaches young children”: dotalinalla. To see what it means, you break it down into its constituent parts: do•talin•al•la, which respectively mean lower•children•teach•person. The really nice thing about agglutinative languages is that if you know a few words, you can make up other ones using the same constituent parts – domarri and timarri mean “lower islands” and “upper islands” respectively, so titalinalla would be “someone who teaches older children”. If we say that “to” at the end of a word signifies a place, then dotalinalto is an elementary school - do•talin•al•to -> lower•children•teach•place. If we say that “ille” is “play”, then talinilleto is a playground, and talinillela is something like a gym teacher or camp counselor – it’s children•play•person, which is kind of ambiguous.
Theoretically, agglutinative languages are infinitely expandable like this, although after a certain point they’re semantically meaningless. But some pretty common words will likely be kind of long – “teacher” is probably a pretty common word, and that’s five syllables and twelve letters long! And if you wanted to add in what subject they taught or if they were experienced or their gender or if they were likeable or other things, it’d get even longer.
Almarri is also diglossic, which means that there are really two types of Almarri – Royal Almarri and Common Almarri (which is mostly going to just be called Almarri). Royal Almarri is written completely differently, in a very intricate and complicated script designed to be exclusive to the ruling class, has some politeness markers that are unique to it and aren’t used in Common Almarri, and there will be some pronunciation differences that we’ll decide later.
Almarri has all the phonemes of English – this means that all the sounds that are naturally part of English words are also found in Almarri (a phoneme is literally just the sound of a consonant or vowel, so for example both the “s” and the “o” in “so” are phonemes, and longer words have more - “phonemes” have six). There are going to be a few sounds that English doesn’t have, though:
nh – pronounced like Spanish ñ, as a palatal nasal. Nha is pronounced similarly to “nya”. This has its own letter in Almarri.
dh – this is a strange one. In IPA it’s d̪ʰ (an aspirated voiced dental stop), but I think that only means something to rubato and me. Say “d” by putting your tongue on the back of your teeth instead of on your soft palate, and then add an extra gust of air at the same time, so that you’re almost saying “d” and “th” at the same time.
Also, when writing Almarri using English letters, if an ‘h’ is like the beginning of ‘house’, and it’s not at the beginning of a word, then have it follow a ‘, so you’d write ‘house – this will help differentiate when it’s its own phoneme and when it’s marking a change like in nh or dh (or, hell, ch/th/ph.)
We have some words in the language worked out, but that’ll be another post later on – I’m going to be trying to find a list of the most common 100-200 words in English and translating them all, just so we have a reasonable body of vocabulary to work with.