We at the Cognitive Lexicon Laboratory take a formal approach to study the lexicon—the system for organizing words and meaning. The broad question we ask is how languages rely on a finite lexicon to express a growing and potentially infinite set of ideas. This tension often results in variation or extension of word meaning over time. Our research explores the computational mechanisms and knowledge that underlie this variation and its connections with word meaning variation across languages and lexical innovation. This line of inquiry has applications in natural language processing: it will enable machines to learn to process and communicate novel meaning beyond conventional language and adapt to changing communicative needs. The methods we develop for longitudinal text analysis can also inform sociomoral changes that are reflected in natural language use.
- Ferreira Pinto Jr., R. and Xu, Y. (in press) A computational theory of child overextension. Cognition, 206, 104472.
- Tanchip, C., Yu, L., Xu, A., and Xu, Y. (2020) Inferring symmetry in natural language. Findings of EMNLP 2020.
- Li, B., Thomas, G., Xu, Y., and Rudzicz, F. (2020) Word class flexibility: A deep contextualized approach. EMNLP 2020.
- 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.