The sense of nonsense

Danish. In my twelfth entry for Weekendavisens lexicon, I trace the origins of the Danish word “volapyk,” meaning nonsense: it comes from a predecessor of Esperanto, Volapük, an attempt to create a perfect global language (the current Danish meaning of the word shows how well that project went). I discuss my own teenagey dabbling in conlanging, and why languages cannot—as the creator of Volapük wanted—be kept in a state of permanent stasis: languages live in change, change is the mechanism that makes meaning possible.

“Volapyk” (“Volapük”), Weekendavisen (9 June 2023). Link.