I am interested in computational approaches to language change. My main focus is on exploring the cognitive mechanisms that underlie the emergence of word meanings, such that a potentially infinite range of ideas may be expressed via finite lexicons in the world's languages. I take an interdisciplinary approach that combines rich empirical data with methods drawn from natural language processing and machine learning, with the goal of understanding and 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, 115(10), 2323-2328.
- 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.