World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Khalaj language (Turkic)

Article Id: WHEBN0002513858
Reproduction Date:

Title: Khalaj language (Turkic)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Turkic languages, Khorasani Turkic language, Afghanistan–Turkey relations, Mishar Tatar dialect, Khalaj people
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Khalaj language (Turkic)

Native to Iran
Region Northeast of Arak in Markazi Province of Iran
Native speakers
(no estimate available)[1]
  • Khalaj
Language codes
ISO 639-3 klj
Glottolog turk1303[2]

Khalaj is a Turkic language spoken in 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 *dy 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.[3][4] Because of the preservation of these archaic features, some scholars have speculated that the Khalaj are the descendants of the Arghu Turks.

Geographical distribution

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.



Consonant phonemes
  Labial Alveolar Palatal or
Velar Uvular Glottal
Nasal m n     ŋ        
Stop p b t d k ɡ q ɢ    
Fricative f v s z ʃ ʒ x ɣ     h  
Flap     ɾ                
Approximant     l j            


Khalaj vowels

Vowels in Khalaj occur in three lengths: long (e.g. [qn] 'blood'), half-long (e.g. [bʃ] 'head'), and short (e.g. [hat] 'horse'). Additionally, some vowels are realized as falling diphthongs, as in [quo̯l] ('arm, sleeve').




Nouns in Khalaj may receive a plural marker or possessive marker. Cases in Khalaj include genitive, accusative, dative, locative, ablative, instrumental, and equative.

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:

Case Suffix
Nominative -
Dative -A, -KA
Accusative -I, -NI
Locative -čA
Ablative -dA
Instrumental -lAn, -lA, -nA
Equative -vāra


Verbs in Khalaj are inflected for voice, tense, aspect, and negation. Verbs consist of long strings of morphemes in the following array:

Stem + Voice + Negation + Tense/Aspect + Agreement


Khalaj employs subject–object–verb word order. Adjectives precede nouns.


The core of Khalaj vocabulary is Turkic, but many words have been borrowed from Persian. Words from neighboring Turkic dialects, namely, Azerbaijani have also made their way into Khalaj.


Khalaj numbers are Turkic in form, but some speakers replace the forms for "80" and "90" with Persian terms:

  • 1 - [biː]
  • 2 - [æ]
  • 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 - [æ]
  • 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)
Translation IPA
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 ʃæɾum"
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"


  1. ^ Ethnologue 16 lists 42,100 in Iran in 2000. However, it gives the same figure for Iranian Khalaj:
    Iranian Khalaj reference at Ethnologue (16th ed., 2009)
    Turkic Khalaj reference at Ethnologue (16th ed., 2009)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Khalaj". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ Doerfer 1971
  4. ^ [1]

External links

  • Resources in and about the Turkic Khalaj language
  • Khalaj language

Further reading

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.