Posted by & filed under How to learn languages with songs and the media.

While in Sarajevo last month filming the documentary Saved By Language (about how the endangered language of Ladino saved a Jewish boy’s life in World War II), I spent time with my dear friend
Damir Imamović. He’s a sevdah musician and singer. We went to a vista point in the hills surrounding Sarajevo and filmed a video about language learning and music. It’s thanks to my dear Damir that I learned Bosnian/Serbo-Croatian. He taught me the language through the songs of the former Yugoslavia.

Here are our first two videos. There will be one more.

1) Damir and I discuss learning languages with songs and how he taught me the language. Damir’s song “Dva se Draga” is played at the beginning and end of the video.

2) In this video, I show some photos from Sarajevo while Damir’s version of the song Summertime plays in the background. Then we discuss how he learned English during the war and approaches to language learning.

  • Grace

    Hi Susanne! I would like to thank you for what you do, you (and Luca) really inspire me 🙂 I’ve wanted to learn some languages (french and spanish in particular) from a long time and thank to you now I’m gonna give a try.
    Anyway I’m writing because I want to ask you where can I find grammar books about bosnian? I find it a really interesting language and I’d like to learn more about it!
    Ps sorry for my mistakes, I’m Italian 🙂

    • SusannaZaraysky

      Hello Grace, Unfortunately, I can’t recommend any particular grammar books for Bosnian because I can’t recall the name of the book I referenced when I was in Bosnia. I learned most of the language by listening to people speaking or by listening to music. Luca is a big fan of Assimil. But I couldn’t find Assimil in English or Italian for Serbo-Croatian. I am so glad that you’re inspired by my work!

  • Hi Grace!

    Maybe this will help:

    http://www.seelrc.org:8080/grammar/mainframe.jsp?nLanguageID=1

    Alexander, R., Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian, a grammar : with socioloinguistic commentary, University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, Wisc., 2006

    Brown, W. & Alt, T., A handbook of bosnian, serbian and croatian

    Susanna, very inspiring job, thanks! 🙂