Closest living language to High Valyrian
I know High Valyrian is a conlag (i.e. made up like Esperanto and not the product of linguistic evolution like how French, Spanish, Italian e.t.c. evolved from Latin. What living languages do you think most closely resemble High Valyrian in terms of grammar and syntax?
The word order is similar to Japanese, and the formation of "X and Y" structures reminds me of Hebrew. The sounds are similar to Greek, to my ear.
To me it feels like a far more exotic form of Latin. Not sure if its the closest though, just a personal feeling based on few minor things, like the reoccuring "ae" in words, "io", the use of "q", so heavy conjecture based on anecdotes.
The "q" has a completely different function, though.
There are some sound changes that must have occured in the history of Latin as well, so that's a similarity: ancient [w] to [v] and antiquatied [ɟ] to [dʒ]
In High Valyrian, as in Classical Latin, there also seem to be more important differences in sound quantity than in modern Romance languages.
Also, the distribution of the accent may be inspired by Latin. http://wiki.dothraki.org/High_Valyrian_Phonology
Turkish has the same Subject-Object-Verb order as High Valyrian. Apart from the vocative which Turkish lacks, they also have a lot of overlap in their case systems.
I agree with Zek256 that is sounds a lot like Latin with some extra sounds thrown in for exoticism's sake. It makes sense as High Valyrian was used as a base for the dialect of Slaver's Bay. Both are the mother to other dialects and an ancient language of high prestige, so the comparison makes a lot of sense.
I can't help thinking that the romanized High Valyrian used in this course looks a lot like the Baltic languages (Latvian/Lithuanian).
There are certainly elements from many languages in High Valyrian (HV), but I would argue that it most closely resembles Latin for the following reasons (this is not a comprehensive list of similarities, just a few points): - HV has 5 declensions (6 if you want to include foreign words), which is similar to Latin.
Like HV, almost all words decline in Latin, such as adjectives, pronouns, and demonstratives.
Latin has three genders (masculine, feminine, and neuter). The fact that HV has more than two genders mirrors this.
HV seems to prefer a subject-object-verb (SOV) word order, just like Latin. It is important to note here that the SOV word order is the most common in the world. However, what makes Latin interesting is that, unlike a 'typical' SOV language, elements such as prepositions come before the word they modify. Typically, you would expect SOV languages to have postpositions (i.e. prepositions that come after the words they modify). This isn't a hard-and-fast rule, but it is something that linguists have observed of SOV languages in general. For example, a 'typical' SOV language would say something like "I the chair on sit" ('on' being a postposition here as it comes after 'chair') rather than "I sit on the chair". However, Latin (an SOV language) has prepositions (as does HV, and Ancient Greek), not postpositions.
Interestingly, Latin did not have any articles (words for 'the' and 'a'/'an') - just like HV.
Finally, the phonology of HV resembles Latin. With the exceptions of 'q' (similar to the letter qaf in Arabic) and 'y' (similar to the vowel in Turkish and German) all of the sounds in HV appear in Latin. If HV resembled Ancient Greek in phonology, we'd expect to see a distinction between letters like π [p] and φ [pʰ]. This distinction also exists in languages like Hindi. Also, the stress rules of HV resemble those of Latin, whereas Ancient Greek was a tonal language.
Definitely the look is very reminiscent of Lithuanian to me. Google Translate also seems to try and translate from that language. But in characteristics it kind of has some reminiscences of Latin, Greek, basically flexive languages, and then a hint of Polynessian languages (applicatives) and very fixed SOV structure (even more so than German)