The Text in an Unknown Language in Norov’s Psalm Book – Cultural and Linguistic Problems


  • Hristo Saldžiev


Norov’ Psalm book, Wallachians, Balkan Romance vernaculars of non-Protoromanian origin


The article deals with a short text consisting of 12 words found in a medieval Bulgarian Psalm Book dating back to the first decades of the 14th century and belonging to the literary production of the capital city of the Second Bulgarian tsardom – Tărnovo. All researchers of the Psalm Book (including the research team of the Soviet Academy of Sciences which published in 1989 a detailed investigation of the manuscript) define the text as “written in an unknown language”. In my view the words have Romanic origin and can be attributed to the language of this part of the population of medieval Tărnovo qualified in the medieval sources as “Wallachians”. Etymologies of words are suggested. The final conclusion is that the phonetical structure of the words corresponds to many of the phonetic changes testified in the Late Latin inscriptions from the territory of Modern Bulgaria and to the phonetic of the Romance loan words in the Old Slavonic (Bulgarian) and Middle Bulgarian sources. The words indicate also the existence of medieval Balkan Romance vernacular(s) different from Protoromanian and its branches. This hypothesis is supported also by many medieval Bulgarian anthroponyms and toponyms of Romanic origin – including those from the region of medieval Tărnovo.




Saldžiev, H. (2020). The Text in an Unknown Language in Norov’s Psalm Book – Cultural and Linguistic Problems. Zeitschrift für Balkanologie, 55(2). Abgerufen von