Mason Arabic professor awarded 2012-2013 Fenwick Fellow grant

Ghassan Husseinali received the 2012-2013 Fenwick Fellow grant earlier this year (photo courtesy of Ghassan Husseinali)
Ghassan Husseinali received the 2012-2013 Fenwick Fellow grant earlier this year (photo courtesy of Ghassan Husseinali)

This August, Fenwick Library announced the 2012-2013 recipient for the Fenwick Fellow grant.

“The annual Fenwick Fellow program assists research by Mason faculty members as well as enhances the resources and capabilities for the University Libraries,” according to a press release from University Libraries. “The fellowship provides a $5,000 award for research materials and assistance, along with a fully equipped office in the Fenwick Library, to support the research project.”

Ghassan Husseinali, assistant Arabic professor and director of the Arabic minor, was awarded the grant for his research project “Investigating the Underlying Grammar of Arabic as a Foreign Language.”

According to the press release, Husseinali will interview native English speakers studying Arabic, and the data will be used “to determine how certain grammatical structures develop over a period of one academic year.”

Husseinali says he was surprised to learn he had received the grant.

“I was taking a nap when I saw the number and recognized it as being from the library,” Husseinali said. “I thought it must be something about my application that they were calling to say sorry that I didn’t get it. But when they told me otherwise, I was so happy, it made my day.”

Husseinali plans to use the grant money to buy books, software for recording, a transcriber and travel expenses for research workshops and conferences.

“I hope my research will tell us something about the universality of language learning,” Husseinali said. “I think it will show us that when people are learning a foreign language, they progress in a certain way.”

Husseinali says Mason helped motivate him to continue his research.

“After I graduated from Texas, I went to Yale as a lecturer and I was not required to produce research so I slacked off,” Husseinali said. “Coming to Mason has been a greatly invigorating experience for me.”

Selection committee members, which included librarians and faculty who were previous Fenwick Fellow awardees, unanimously chose Husseinali’s research project for the grant.

“The University Libraries is looking forward to supporting this important study in the field of language acquisition and sponsoring the public lecture during the spring semester of 2014 when Professor Husseinali will present the results of his research,” said University Librarian John Zenelis in the press release. 

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