The word “surrender” conjures up images of defeat and submission. But when it comes to language learning, the more you give yourself up to your target language, the more successful you will be.

Why do people speak with accents? They are stuck in the phonological structure of their native tongue.

Why do foreign language speakers keep making the same grammatical mistakes?

They are still thinking like they would in their native language.

The more you give up about your native language when you speak a new language, the more able you will be to embody your target language and speak it well. It’s not about trying to be a native speaker, it’s about approximating yourself as much as possible to the way native speakers naturally speak.

Against the backdrop of Sarajevo, I talked with Bosnian musician Damir Imamović about surrendering yourself to a language and music. We also talked about speaking minority languages and language confusion. Damir’s song “Žute dunje” is played at the beginning and end of the video.
** Press the red CC button in the lower right corner for English subtitles.**