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  1. Are Language Models More Like Libraries or Like Librarians? Bibliotechnism, the Novel Reference Problem, and the Attitudes of LLMs.Harvey Lederman & Kyle Mahowald - forthcoming - Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics.
    Are LLMs cultural technologies like photocopiers or printing presses, which transmit information but cannot create new content? A challenge for this idea, which we call bibliotechnism, is that LLMs generate novel text. We begin with a defense of bibliotechnism, showing how even novel text may inherit its meaning from original human-generated text. We then argue that bibliotechnism faces an independent challenge from examples in which LLMs generate novel reference, using new names to refer to new entities. Such examples could be (...)
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  2.  66
    Info/information theory: Speakers choose shorter words in predictive contexts.Kyle Mahowald, Evelina Fedorenko, Steven T. Piantadosi & Edward Gibson - 2013 - Cognition 126 (2):313-318.
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  3.  40
    Wordform Similarity Increases With Semantic Similarity: An Analysis of 100 Languages.Isabelle Dautriche, Kyle Mahowald, Edward Gibson & Steven T. Piantadosi - 2017 - Cognitive Science:2149-2169.
    Although the mapping between form and meaning is often regarded as arbitrary, there are in fact well-known constraints on words which are the result of functional pressures associated with language use and its acquisition. In particular, languages have been shown to encode meaning distinctions in their sound properties, which may be important for language learning. Here, we investigate the relationship between semantic distance and phonological distance in the large-scale structure of the lexicon. We show evidence in 100 languages from a (...)
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  4.  24
    Words cluster phonetically beyond phonotactic regularities.Isabelle Dautriche, Kyle Mahowald, Edward Gibson, Anne Christophe & Steven T. Piantadosi - 2017 - Cognition 163 (C):128-145.
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  5.  47
    Accommodating Presuppositions Is Inappropriate in Implausible Contexts.Raj Singh, Evelina Fedorenko, Kyle Mahowald & Edward Gibson - 2016 - Cognitive Science 40 (3):607-634.
    According to one view of linguistic information, a speaker can convey contextually new information in one of two ways: by asserting the content as new information; or by presupposing the content as given information which would then have to be accommodated. This distinction predicts that it is conversationally more appropriate to assert implausible information rather than presuppose it. A second view rejects the assumption that presuppositions are accommodated; instead, presuppositions are assimilated into asserted content and both are correspondingly open to (...)
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  6.  44
    Word Forms Are Structured for Efficient Use.Kyle Mahowald, Isabelle Dautriche, Edward Gibson & Steven T. Piantadosi - 2018 - Cognitive Science 42 (8):3116-3134.
    Zipf famously stated that, if natural language lexicons are structured for efficient communication, the words that are used the most frequently should require the least effort. This observation explains the famous finding that the most frequent words in a language tend to be short. A related prediction is that, even within words of the same length, the most frequent word forms should be the ones that are easiest to produce and understand. Using orthographics as a proxy for phonetics, we test (...)
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  7.  26
    Grammatical cues to subjecthood are redundant in a majority of simple clauses across languages.Kyle Mahowald, Evgeniia Diachek, Edward Gibson, Evelina Fedorenko & Richard Futrell - 2023 - Cognition 241 (C):105543.
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  8.  8
    An information-theoretic approach to the typology of spatial demonstratives.Sihan Chen, Richard Futrell & Kyle Mahowald - 2023 - Cognition 240 (C):105505.
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  9.  15
    Structural priming is most useful when the conclusions are statistically robust.Kyle Mahowald, Ariel James, Richard Futrell & Edward Gibson - 2017 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 40.
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