An image of J.A. Brown.
The J.A. Brown logo.

Meaning scientist. Polymath. Software developer. Game modder. Linguist. Social and political commentator. Free speech crusader. The Man with the MRGA Hat. The Jordan Peterson Guy. Entrepreneur. Make Reality Great Again.

“I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man”
—Thomas Jefferson

Professional activities

Software development

I currently work as a software consultant, as part of a traineeship in software development. I have been working with Java, JavaScript, and PHP, mostly on web applications. I’ve also used frameworks and libraries like React, Axios, Hibernate, and JQuery; but I prefer not to use such frameworks and write everything in “native” code instead, designing and building each function myself (like I did for this website, for example).
The reason? My way of working is always grounded in a good understanding of the matter I work on. While frameworks are designed to make many processes easier and therefore, in theory, take time out of the developer’s hands, the downside of using one is that you are most likely not intimately familiar with the framework. So you know that the framework does something, but you don’t really know what’s going on under the hood. It also makes your code harder to read. Instead of everything being completely obvious and transparent because you wrote it yourself, you have to look and think really hard to figure out exactly what’s going on in the framework. So the time you gain by using a framework to take coding work out of your hands, you lose again by making the code more difficult to analyze. I prefer to keep things as simple as possible and make my own framework: even though it’s more work and takes longer initially, in the long run it makes things easier and therefore faster.

I also have good knowledge of SQL (and obtained an SQL for Data Science certificate from Coursera), some experience with Python, and I’m beginning to learn about XML, C#, and ASP.NET. Although my background is more on the design side, I found out during my training that I actually like back-end development a little more than front-end development, and that I enjoy managing databases using SQL. That said, I aim to be able to work as a full-stack developer. I’m interested in the history and philosophy of programming and the history of communications technology; I very much enjoyed reading James Gleick’s The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood. I like to learn new programming languages and would like to increase my repertoire. So far, my favourite language to code in is Java (and Python, I guess, but I haven’t used Python much recently).

Sole proprietorship

I am also the owner of my own company, J.A. Brown (also called J.A. Brown Enterprise and Department of Post‑Chomskyan Linguistics), which I founded in 2019. It’s a sole proprietorship, registered with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce. I use it to provide services related to languages and linguistics, such as teaching Dutch and translating between Dutch and English.
In the near future, I plan to roll out a new business activity aimed at helping organizations achieve their goals by improving their communication and promotional material, using a philosophy-based method I designed.

Why “Department of Post‑Chomskyan Linguistics”?

You may wonder why my company is called the Department of Post‑Chomskyan Linguistics. Well, it’s kind of a joke. I became interested in the so-called “Pirahã controversy” years ago. This controversy revolved, or revolves, around the linguist Daniel Everett and the Pirahã language, which according to him falsifies Noam Chomsky’s theory of linguistics, especially the part about the so-called “faculty of language”. There is much more to it, but that’s the controversy in a nutshell. If you want a more in-depth take on the whole thing, you can read this 2007 article from The New Yorker. I use the phrase “post‑Chomskyan linguistics” to describe research that presents an alternative to traditional generative theories of grammar. Because I like that, I began jocularly referring to myself as the (one-man) “Department of Post‑Chomskyan Linguistics”. This then ended up becoming an official trade name for my business, because why not? Perhaps it is a bit of a misnomer, though, since Chomsky himself has stated he doesn’t believe in the Minimalist Program (his theory about the “faculty of language”) anymore. That means the most hardcore ‘Chomskyans’ are now people other than Chomsky himself. Perhaps “post‑generative” would be a better name. But I think this is funnier.
See also the “Academic” page for more details on my work in linguistics.

Past work experience

Previously, I’ve done contract work for a company that provides Dutch language classes to explats and I’ve worked as a translator for a Dutch translation company with many large and small commercial and non-commercial clients. I’ve also worked as a homework support tutor for high schoolers and as a digital graphics assistant for an educational company.

You can download my resume or find me on LinkedIn.

Page last updated: 3 October 2021.