I've thought along these lines for a while too, although I can't help but feel that this might be another "just-so" ev-psych story.

I don't see it so much as a compression scheme as a refined-model-of-the-world. I see it more as a lossy vs. lossless compression improvement. For example, as we learn more, we create more, not fewer categories. (For example, once you learn the resolution to the tree falls in a forest story, you now have refined sound into "sound-1" and "sound-2")

This neatly explain why we find irony so delicious - it presents to us directly a contradiction in our categorization scheme, and an opportunity for improving our model of the world.

Hi, thanks for linking to your post here. It seems relevant to what I tweeted. But please help me understand what you are saying here. I think I'm having trouble at "Subgroups form that may value intentional suppression of their former values". Why would they value suppression of former values?

I'm guessing you're trying to say that subgroups will find their aesthetic more interesting because they experience their aesthetic as providing greater improvement in compressibility given preexisting inculcation in that aesthetic?

Dick Hebdige's book (a standard sociology text) Subculture: The Meaning Of Style puts it down to something like that: the essence of a subculture is an awareness of style and differences in style. This obviously expands to fine linguistic distinctions between dialects and so on. (e.g. the language spoken across much of the former Yugoslavia which now has four or five names.)

The period during which language evolution happened.

Xenophobia acted to help prevent cultures from combining, probably resulting in increased cultural diversity.