Kyle Mahowald
Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences



About Me

Originally from Florida, I am now a graduate student in Ted Gibson's psycholinguistics lab in MIT's Brain and Cognitive Sciences department. Before that, I was a linguistics student at Oxford University under the supervision of Mary Dalrymple and Aditi Lahiri. And before that I was an undergrad at Harvard. I am interested in how and why languages change (both syntactically and at the level of the word), the organizational structure of the lexicon (i.e., why we have the words we have instead of some other set of words), the relationship between communicative efficiency and natural language, historical English, language neuroimaging, and lexical-functional grammar.

About Me

Me is the first person object pronoun in English. It goes back to the accusative and dative in Old English and before that to an Indo-European pronoun that would probably remind you of me. If you're ever bored, feel free to try it as an exclamation, as in "Oh, me!"


K. Mahowald and E. Gibson. 2013. Short, frequent words are more likely to appear genetically related by chance. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Letter to Editor.doi:10.1073/pnas.1308822110
          -See original article by Pagel et al. here and their reply here.
          -And another response by Heggarty here.

K. Mahowald, E. Fedorenko, S.T. Piantadosi, and E. Gibson. 2013. Info/information theory: speakers choose shorter words in predictive contexts. Cognition, 126, 313-318.

K. Mahowald. 2012. A Naive Bayes Classifier for Shakespeare’s second person pronoun. Literary and Linguistic Computing. 27 (1): 17-23. doi:10.1093/llc/fqr045

K. Mahowald. 2011. An LFG Account of Word Order Freezing. In M. Butt and T. H. King, eds., Proceedings of the LFG11 Conference. Hong Kong: CSLI Publications:

K. Mahowald. In prep. Old English, finite-state morphology, and phonological theory.

K. Mahowald. 2011. An LFG Approach to Old English. Master's thesis. Oxford University.

K. Mahowald. 2010. “It may nat be”: Chaucer, Derrida, and the Impossibility of the Gift. Studies in the Age of Chaucer. 32:129-150.


K. Mahowald, S.T. Piantadosi, and E. Gibson. 2013. Lexical clustering in efficient langauge design. 26th Annual CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing, CUNY 2013. Columbia, SC. March 22, 2013.

K. Mahowald, T.J. O’Donnell, and J.B. Tenenbaum. 2013. Filling in the blanks in morphological productivitiy: a word completion task. 26th Annual CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing, CUNY 2013. Columbia, SC. March 23, 2013.

K. Mahowald, E. Fedorenko, S.T. Piantadosi, and E. Gibson. 2012. Info/information theory: speakers actively choose shorter word in predictive contexts. 25th Annual CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing, CUNY 2012. New York. March 16, 2012.

K. Mahowald. 2011. Word order freezing in Old English. Oxford Syntax Working Group. Oxford. February 23, 2011.

K. Mahowald. 2010. Verb clusters in Old English. 3rd South of England LFG Meeting. SOAS, London. October 23, 2010.


You can find some of my crossword puzzles here. But don't look at the answers!