All Ratings and Reviews for Nicoletta Loccioni
If you had Nico for 120B, I highly recommend taking her for this course as well. This continuity is extremely helpful, as some of my classmates had different 120B professors and weren't entirely familiar with the techniques, content, and teaching style of Nico. She is a great professor, but this course was challenging at times. Some of the technical explanations required on the homeworks and exams in this class were more difficult than those in 120B, because the deeper you delve into syntactic theory, the more blurred the line becomes between what's the "right" and "wrong" answer. I went to TA office hours weekly for help on the homework assignments, because there always seemed to be a few parts or subparts of a question that were difficult or worded vaguely. The midterm was fair (very similar to the homeworks), but the final was very difficult. When it comes to the homeworks and exams, grading-wise, it was somewhat harsher/stricter than in 120B.
Loccioni is a really good professor. She patiently explained everything to her students. There was an assignment every week. The assignments were not easy, but if you spend some time on the slides, you can do them very well. The midterm and final were very similar to the assignments, and an A4 size cheat sheet was allowed to use in both exams. I REALLY RECOMMEND THIS PROFESSOR!
She's enthusiastic about learning and students but incompetent where she wouldn't post answers to the homework for review/the slide practice questions and when she was called out for it, she said it was our responsibility to discuss the answers among ourselves. I mean ok ya, I get that but also I just want to know how you want me to write it so I can pass your class. It got really annoying at the end. I would not take it again.
Nico is a very kind and approachable professor. She's the type of person to say hi to you even outside of class, which shows how welcoming she is. On top of that, she knows her stuff and can definitely help if you ever get stuck.
Homework in this class was very manageable. It covered the topics in class and there was never a moment when I questioned whether a problem correlated with the lecture. She posts her lecture notes, which are very helpful (I recommend studying by going through this and studying/copying all of the example trees).
Her midterm and final lined up with the homework and there are barely any curveballs. For this class, do the homework well, go to office hours if you get stuck (I had Zhuo Chen as a TA, phenomenal guy), and review homework and lecture notes. You'll be fine.
Nico is one of the best professors I've ever had here at UCLA. I had her for LING 120B and 165B (Syntax I and II) in Fall 2018 and Winter 2019. I would highly recommend taking her for this course. I really hope I can take more classes with her as my professor. She is so kind, patient, and very understanding of students' needs and concerns.
Her overall grading scheme is:
50% Homework (7 Assignments)
30% Final Exam
The midterm and final were very similar to the homework assignments and fairly straightforward if you did well on the homework and/or went to TA office hours for help (My TA, Zhuo, was also very helpful and friendly). If you take this class with Nico and also plan on taking LING 165B, try to take it with her again or the same professor you had for 120B because the teaching style and material covered varies from professor to professor.
There's a lot to know in this class, and it's not easy material. It can get complicated fast. Do not--dear G-d, do not--miss a class. Nico is very nice and very helpful but the expectations are lofty.
You'll learn cool things though. A fair bit of old-school Chomskyan generative syntax. You will not learn minimalist syntax, which is the more accepted paradigm nowadays (for this, take Ethan Poole's class).
BEWARE the final. It is harder than everything you did previously. You really have to know your shit inside and out. When you're studying and making your cheat sheet, don't leave out small things you only covered briefly, even if it was early in the quarter (we had to know the A-over-A rule, which was a briefly covered rule that quickly went defunct and we did not use in our homeworks).
Nico's one of the best professors in the ling department, completely understanding and patient. She takes her time explaining each concept and is willing to repeat things over and over again so everyone understands. The pace of the class might seem a little slow, but I found all the repetition and practice problems helpful. The amount of work is reasonable with a homework assignment each week (1-2 hours max), midterm (like HWs), final (easier than midterm), and short paper (fun&easy). As long as you pay attention, ask for clarification, do the in-class exercises&hws, and review the slides, you'll do well. Absolutely loved her class and would highly recommend.
This class was really interesting and Nico is a very engaging professor. The material is really dense, though, and there was a lot of homework. It was also a little annoying because I took Ling 120B with a different professor, and Nico had a different method drawing trees. But she's very sweet and genuinely wants to help people learn. However, I think she has some unreasonable expectations for people's participation. She would never give us answers to practice problems, and wanted us to use the CCLE forum to share answers with each other, which obviously nobody did. The final was also very difficult. I would definitely recommend this class for someone who's interested in syntax, but if you're not, I think it'd just be very hard and time consuming.
Nico is just the BEST professor ever. She really made me fall in love with syntax. I have never seen anyone that is so considerate and sweet! Even if you give a wrong answer in class, she just has a way of not making you feel bad about it at all to encourage your progress. Her class is just so well organized and clear! The pace was a little bit slow for me but I guess it was fine because some students just didn't really understand the theories and stuff. I honestly think that if you don't get a good grade in this class, it is only because you are not even trying. Every time I meet a ling student I just recommend Nico's class to them. Man I LOVE HER!!
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