I develop computational models of language with a focus on understanding cognitive foundations of the lexicon. I am particularly interested in how word meanings are efficiently structured and extended over time, such that a potentially unbounded set of ideas may be expressed via compact lexicons in the world's languages. My approach combines rich empirical data with computational modeling drawn from machine learning and natural language processing, with the goal of constructing the human lexicon.
- Ramiro, C., Srinivasan, M., Malt, B.C. and Xu, Y. (2018) Algorithms in the historical emergence of word senses. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1714730115.
- Kemp, C., Xu, Y., and Regier, T. (2018) Semantic typology and efficient communication. Annual Review of Linguistics, 4, 109-128.
- Xu, Y., Malt, B.C., and Srinivasan, M. (2017) Evolution of word meanings through metaphorical mapping: Systematicity over the past millennium. Cognitive Psychology, 96, 41-53.
- Cibelli, E., Xu, Y., Austerweil, J.L., Griffiths, T.L. and Regier T. (2016). The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis and probabilistic inference: Evidence from the domain of color. PLOS ONE, 11(7): e0158725.
- Xu, Y., Regier, T. and Malt, B.C. (2016) Historical semantic chaining and efficient communication: The case of container names. Cognitive Science, 40(8), 2081-2094.