Syntax I

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Professor Most Helpful Review
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Ethan Poole See Full Profile

Overall 4.0 Easiness 2.0 Workload 3.0 Clarity 3.5 Helpfulness 5.0

Most Helpful Review

The material in this class is dry. However, Poole is a helpful professor during office hours. He is patient to explain and guide you to the answers. He provides handout notes in class so students don't have to print out anything. I like his sense of humor. Sometimes it helps during a boring lecture. Things in class usually don't make sense to you until you do the homework. The test (open-book) is challenging, in my opinion.

Winter Quarter 2020
Carson Schutze See Full Profile

Overall 3.0 Easiness 1.9 Workload 2.1 Clarity 3.3 Helpfulness 3.9

Most Helpful Review

Schutze is an interesting professor, I have never had one like him. He was very informative, and concise... but simultaneously extremely boring during lecture on average. I've never had a professor who is good at conveying information but at the same time difficult to listen to because he is so dry.
Overall he was very helpful out of class. At first he seems disinterested (maybe because it's an intro level course, and therefore relatively easy?); however, once students start asking questions "outside of the box" he is much more interested.
He takes feedback very well. In the first few weeks of the quarter he asked the class to submit positive and negative attributes of the class. At least for me personally, he address and fixed everything I thought was negative about the course, including things such as teaching styles and homework deadlines.
The homework is difficult but helps to get the point across and also helps with tests. His handouts and podcasts are also extremely helpful.

I would take another class with him, overall I enjoyed him.

March 9, 2015
Jos Tellings See Full Profile

Overall 2.7 Easiness 2.3 Workload 2.7 Clarity 3.0 Helpfulness 3.3

Most Helpful Review

This was an awesome class. If you like puzzles, then syntax is definitely the field for you.

I'm selling the book for this class, "Syntax: A Generative Introduction, Third Edition" for $15, so send an email to: if you would like to buy it.

-Weekly Quizzes. You have 2 minutes to answer one question. The questions are usually taken directly from lecture. Your lowest score is dropped.It says on the syllabus that they're 15% of your grade, but I only took 4 out of the 8 and still got an A in the class.
-Weekly Homeworks. Drawing syntax trees and answering general syntax questions. The book explains the topics really well, and the prof. posts his notes from lecture on CCLE, so the answers could be deduced from there + the book. He also tolerates lateness n these, with 10% off for the first day it's late, 20% off on the second day, and so on.
-Weekly readings. They're not mandatory, but the book is super easy to understand and sometimes does a better job of explaining things than Prof. Tellings does, so I highly recommend those.

-You get to bring a full sized sheet of paper, front and back, with as many notes as you can fit on it.
-If you do the homeworks well, and take time on your study sheet, the exams should be a piece of cake. Go to lecture and copy down the trees that Prof. Tellings draws on the board, and you can put those on your sheet for reference on the test. It's super helpful.

-Attending discussion or lecture isn't mandatory, but the lectures definitely help with the quizzes, and my TA would pass out these handouts at discussion that basically summarized everything we had learned for the week clearly and concisely. They were super helpful.

Spring Quarter 2017
Martin Walkow See Full Profile

Overall 3.8 Easiness 3.4 Workload 3.6 Clarity 4.0 Helpfulness 3.0

Most Helpful Review

I took Walkow for Linguistics 20 (which is the intro class for Ling majors) and hated him with every fiber of my being--as a teacher. The homework was insanely difficult, there was no extra material outside of lectures to aid understanding, and the structure of the class was fast-paced. In hindsight, the class was designed to weed people out of a small, competitive major, a fault which didn't lie with Walkow himself. Still, I hated that class even though I knew I loved and enjoyed learning about linguistics.

This quarter, I'm taking Linguistics 120B (Syntax I) with Walkow, and my entire opinion of him and his class has changed. He was fair in Ling20, but he is clearly a syntactician with a passion for language and, as a result, is considerably more open a lenient with the class and his assignments. Certainly, the assignments are still rather difficult, but if you read the chapters for the week BEFORE the lectures and you do the problem sets in the chapters' ends (the workbook was immensely helpful here too!) you can stay on top of the course content with little trouble.

I've realized over the course of this quarter that Martin Walkow doesn't want you to memorize notational conventions and PSRs to apply them to Language, but to actually tease out the peculiarities and flaws in the theory describing how Language works. In short, he is teaching you how to think like a linguist through the material, instead of simply teaching you formulaic theories to apply to data via rote memorization. Walkow's class is hard, there's no denying that (and many people think Syntax is boring), but he is fair with grades--including admitting his own mistakes in writing or grading the hw/exams--and is absolutely willing to help you fill in things you don't understand, provided you have done your best to do so on your own.

If you want to learn about syntax and linguistics, and how to process data like a linguist, take your classes with him and Joe Buffington (the coolest and most helpful TA ever, who comes with the Walkow-class package). I thought for sure I'd hate this class and his teaching given the hell we all went through in Ling20, but he's a great guy, a good teacher overall, and a brilliant syntactician.

I'd recommend him to anyone truly interested in learning linguistics---but he's definitely not for the faint of heart (and/or those who seek to "skate" through classes).

Feb. 28, 2014
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