We at the Cognitive Lexicon Laboratory take a computational approach to study the lexicon—the system of word-meaning mappings for human communication. The overarching question we ask is how languages rely on a finite lexicon to express a growing and potentially infinite set of ideas. This tension is often manifested in lexical creativity, such as the extension of word meanings and the formation of new words and expressions. Our lab explores the cognitive foundations that underlie historical word meaning extension, word meaning variation across languages, emerging linguistic compositions and lexical acquisition. This line of inquiry may enable machines to interpret and communicate novel meanings and adapt to emerging needs. The methods we develop for diachronic text analysis can also inform sociomoral changes that are reflected in natural language use.
- Yu, L. and Xu, Y. (2021) Predicting emergent linguistic compositions through time: Syntactic frame extension via multimodal chaining. EMNLP 2021.
- Xu, A., Stellar, J.E., and Xu, Y. (2021) Evolution of emotion semantics. Cognition, 217, 104875.
- Sun, Z., Zemel, R., and Xu, Y. (2021) A computational framework for slang generation. TACL, 9, 462-478.
- Ferreira Pinto Jr., R. and Xu, Y. (2021) A computational theory of child overextension. Cognition, 206, 104472.
- Xu, Y., Liu, E., and Regier, T. (2020) Numeral systems across languages support efficient communication: From approximate numerosity to recursion. Open Mind, 4, 57-70.
- Habibi, A.A., Kemp, C., and Xu, Y. (2020) Chaining and the growth of linguistic categories. Cognition, 202, 104323.
- Xu, Y., Duong, K., Malt, B.C., Jiang, S., and Srinivasan, M. (2020) Conceptual relations predict colexification across languages. Cognition, 201, 104280.
- Xie, J.Y., Ferreira Pinto Jr., R., Hirst, G., and Xu, Y. (2019) Text-based inference of moral sentiment change. EMNLP 2019.
- Ramiro, C., Srinivasan, M., Malt, B.C., and Xu, Y. (2018) Algorithms in the historical emergence of word senses. PNAS, 115(10), 2323-2328.
- Kemp, C., Xu, Y., and Regier, T. (2018) Semantic typology and efficient communication. Annu Rev Linguist, 4, 109-128.