|Region||Northeast of Arak in Markazi Province of Iran|
Khalaj has traditionally been classified with Azerbaijani dialects, primarily because of its proximity to them. However, it is not a dialect of Azerbaijani, as previously supposed. Further, features such as preservation of three vowel lengths, preservation of word-initial Proto-Turkic *h, and lack of the sound change *d → y has led to a non-Oghuz classification of Khalaj. An example of these archaisms is present in the word hadaq ("foot"), which has preserved the initial *h and medial *d. The equivalent form in nearby Oghuz dialects is ayaq. Therefore it is an independent language that became distinct very early from other extant Turkic languages. Because of the preservation of these archaic features, some scholars have speculated that the Khalaj are the descendants of the Arghu Turks.
Khalaj is spoken mainly in Markazi Province in Iran. Doerfer cites the number of speakers as approximately 17,000 in 1968; the Ethnologue reports that the population of speakers grew to 42,107 by 2000.
The main dialects of Khalaj are Northern and Southern. Within these dialect groupings, individual villages and groupings of speakers have distinct speech patterns.
Vowels in Khalaj occur in three lengths: long (e.g. [qaːn] 'blood'), half-long (e.g. [baˑʃ] 'head'), and short (e.g. [hat] 'horse'). Additionally, some vowels are realized as falling diphthongs, as in [quo̯l] ('arm, sleeve').
Forms of case suffixes change based on vowel harmony and the consonants they follow. Case endings also interact with possessive suffixes. A table of basic case endings is provided below:
|Instrumental||-lAn, -lA, -nA|
- Stem + Voice + Negation + Tense/Aspect + Agreement
Khalaj numbers are Turkic in form, but some speakers replace the forms for "80" and "90" with Persian terms:
- 1 - [biː]
- 2 - [æk.ki]
- 3 - [yʃ]
- 4 - [tœœɾt]
- 5 - [bieʃ]
- 6 - [al.ta]
- 7 - [jæt.ti]
- 8 - [sæk.kiz]
- 9 - [toq.quz]
- 10 - [uon]
- 20 - [ji.iɾ.mi]
- 30 - [hot.tuz]
- 40 - [qiɾq]
- 50 - [æl.li]
- 60 - [alt.miʃ]
- 70 - [yæt.miʃ]
- 80 - [saj.san] (Turkic), [haʃ.tad] (Persian)
- 90 - [toqx.san] (Turkic), [na.vad] (Persian)
- 100 - [jyːz]
- 1000 - [min], [miŋk]
(Excerpt from Dorfer & Tezcan (1994) pp. 158–159)
|Once, Mullah Nasreddin had a son.||biː ki.niː mol.laː nas.ɾæd.diː.niːn oɣ.lu vaːɾ-aɾ.ti|
|He said, "Oh Father, I want a wife."||hay.dɨ ki "æj baː.ba, mæŋ ki.ʃi ʃæj.jo.ɾum"|
|He said, "My dear, we have a cow; take this cow and sell it. Come with the proceeds, we will buy you a wife!"||hay.dɨ ki "bɒː.ba bi.zym biː sɨ.ɣɨ.ɾɨ.myz vaːɾ, je.tib̥ bo sɨ.ɣɨ.ɾɨ saː.tɨ, naɣd ʃæj.i puˑ.lĩn, jæk biz sæ̃ ki.ʃi al.duq"|
- Khalaj at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
- Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Khalaj". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
- Khalaj (Iranian) at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
- Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Khalaj (Iranian)". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
- Doerfer 1971
- [dead link][dead link]
- Doerfer, Gerhard (1971). Khalaj Materials. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Publications. ISBN 0-87750-150-5. OCLC 240052.
- Doerfer, Gerhard (1998). Grammatik des Chaladsch. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. ISBN 3-447-02865-3.
- Doerfer, Gerhard & Tezcan, Semih (1994). Folklore-Texte der Chaladsch. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.
- Johanson, Lars & Csató, Éva Ágnes (1998). The Turkic Languages. London: Routledge.