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 over time. This tension is often manifested in lexical creativity, such as the extension of word meanings and the formation of new words and expressions. We develop formal theories to characterize the cognitive mechanisms of word meaning extension and the basic principles underlying cross-linguistic semantic variation. This line of inquiry has led to the development of computational models that support the generation and interpretation of novel lexical use in machines. The methods we develop for diachronic text analysis also inform social-moral changes that are reflected in natural language use.
- Hahn, M. and Xu, Y. (to appear) Crosslinguistic word order variation reflects evolutionary pressures of dependency and information locality. PNAS.
- Yu, L. and Xu, Y. (to appear) Noun2Verb: Probabilistic frame semantics for word class conversion. Computational Linguistics.
- Prystawski, B., Grant, E., Nematzadeh, A., Lee, S.W.S., Stevenson, S., and Xu, Y. (to appear) The emergence of gender associations in child language development. Cognitive Science.
- 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. Annual Review of Linguistics, 4, 109-128.