December 02, 2013

Timberlake, Alan
[LING W4903] Syntax

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Alan Timberlake is the most offensively inept professor I could ever even imagine. It is already disappointing that Columbia has such a limited Linguistics program, but that Professor Timberlake is the head of the "department" exacerbates this disappointment even more. There is little hope for Columbia to ever be able to accommodate those who are truly interested in the field when nearly the only person who feigns teaching it does not even have a handle on its foundational principles, let alone the complex ideas that this foundation has generated and that are currently being studied by those who treat Linguistics as the rigorous science that it truly is.

Few readings were assigned from those who developed key ideas in the field, and when these primary sources were assigned, it was obviously without any consideration as to how this -- highly complex -- material should be presented. Assignments were indecipherable -- Timberlake is notorious for this, which most people talk about as if it were a charming quality --, serving to be entirely uninstructive wastes of several hours. Assignments were hardly ever returned. One e-mail we received from Professor Timberlake read: "Various things have conspired to keep me from finishing your earlier problem set (too much other work, avoidance,...)"...

Workload:

A few indecipherable, uninstructive "problem sets." Long and similarly pointless final.