Ethnologue and ISO list an Iranian language "Khalaj" with the same population, but Glottolog states it does not exist. The Khalaj speak their Turkic language and Persian, and the supposed Iranian language of the Khalaj is spurious.
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 (compare Turkish ayak). Therefore, it is an independent language that became distinct very early from other extant Common Turkic languages. Because of the preservation of these archaic features, some scholars have speculated that the Khalaj are the descendants of the Arghu Turks. It's considered as "last examples" of Old Turkic by some Turkish scholars.
The main dialects of Khalaj are Northern and Southern. Within these dialect groupings, individual villages and groupings of speakers have distinct speech patterns.
Khalaj vowels are /i, y, u, æ, œ, o, a/.
It is often claimed that vowels in Khalaj occur in three lengths: long (e.g. [qaːn] 'blood'), half-long (e.g. [baˑʃ] 'head'), and short (e.g. [hat] 'horse'). This view has been challenged by A. Manaster Ramer. 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|
Khalaj numbers are Turkic in form, but some speakers replace the forms for "80" and "90" with Persian terms:
(Excerpt from Dorfer & Tezcan (1994) pp. 158–159)
|Translation||IPA||In Latin alphabet|
|Once, Mullah Nasreddin had a son.||biː ki.niː mol.laː nas.ɾæd.diː.niːn oɣ.lu vaːɾ-aɾ.ti||Bî kinî mollâ nasrəddînîn oğlu vâr-arti.|
|He said, "Oh Father, I want a wife."||hay.dɨ ki "æj baː.ba, mæŋ ki.ʃi ʃæj.jo.ɾum"||Haüdı ki "Əy bâba, mən kişi şəyyorum."|
|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"||Haüdı ki "Bâba bizüm bî sığırımüz vâr, yetib̥ bo sığırı sâtı. Nağd şəyi pûlîn, yək biz sə̃ kişi alduq!"|