chip wiegand

Welcome to my blog and website, I hope you find your visit interesting.

You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.

-- Mark Twain

Me I teach english as a foreign language in Barranquilla, Colombia. In my previous life, as I call it, I was an IT guy, systems administrator, computer tech, as well as a shipping/receiving guy and also worked as a merchandising guy for a year for a camping/RV accessories store.

Chip Wiegand

I teach english as a foreign language in Barranquilla, Colombia. In my previous life, as I call it, I was an IT guy, systems administrator, computer tech, as well as a shipping/receiving guy and also worked as a merchandising guy for a year for a camping/RV accessories store.

More students, and less students, but mostly more students

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Things are going well here. My teaching schedule is filling up. And it looks like I will have even more students starting in the next week or two. So, for those of you who pray, pray about this: 3-5 new students possibly starting in the next week or two, all in the same business office, one other new student who operates a brand new panaderia just around the corner from me (I talked to him just last night), and the wife of my newest student. Also, one new student who has delayed starting for a month now is supposed to be starting this next week, and apparently the two other people who were going to do lessons with him are apparently not going to do lessons, so pray that they will be able to do the lessons as originally planned.

So, at this time, the number of students I have, that I actually give lessons to is 7. The number of new, students very likely to start in the next week or two: 3 - 5 at the one office. Plus one more who has expressed an interest but has to find the time to fit into my schedule. Plus 2 others who previously said they would take lessons, but for whatever reason changed their minds. I do have time available for all of them, it's just a matter of fitting them in to my schedule and their schedule.

This week is "Santa Semana", Holy Week, and this weekend is a holiday weekend, thursday through sunday. So several of my students are not having lessons as they are busy with family events. So I was able to "sleep in" this morning, which was nice. Normally I am up and out the door no later than 6am, so I can get to my first students home by 7. Tomorrow I will bet to sleep in also, but possibly be back on schedule with those students on saturday, but don't know yet if they will be taking a lesson or not, they will contact me and let me know. My newest student is 3 lessons per week from 8pm until 9. He lives just around the corner from me, so he comes to my home. His wife is interested in lessons also, but apparently her work schedule doesn't allow her time for them. Hopefully she can adjust her schedule to fit into mine.

The last time I wrote here I wrote about the letter U and how it can be involved in 10 different sounds, or phonemes. Likewise, the letter A has many possible sounds as well, I find 6 possible sounds for it. Here is a list of examples:

  • ate, nail (the long "a"
  • at, cat (the short "a")
  • ball, awsome, haul (I call this the "soft a" sound - sounds like "ahhh" when the dentest tells you to "say ah")
  • what, camera, Canada (the "uh" sound, also called the "schwa")
  • husband, accountant, palace (sounds like the short "i" in "bit")
  • personal, central, normal (sounds like " ol ")

These sounds are made by a combination of two letters, a phoneme, except, of course, for the "long" and "short" 'a' sounds. That is 6 possible sounds for the letter 'a'. Compare this to Spanish, the word "padre" (in English translates to "father") for example: 1 sound, like the English "soft" 'ah' sound found in the words "father, bother".

I'm working on making lists of the vowels and all the possible sounds each makes: the pure vowel sounds and the phonemes. I have one student who is brand new and doesn't know these sounds. So these word lists help him learn to hear the differences between them. Then he will be better able to recognise them when speaking and reading and listening.

There is a word here that has no direct translation into english, well, there are a few, but this one in particular caught my attention: estadounidense. What is that? That is the nationality, in Spanish, of the people of the USA. Not "American". As I have written in previous blogs, the word American pertains to all the peoples of the continents of North, Central and South America. So to a Latin American we are not, I am not, an Americano, I am estadounidense. Just as a person from Canada is canadiense. The nationality us North Americans are familiar with - "American" - is only recognized as our nationality by people in English speaking countries. To the rest of the word each language has its own word for the nationality of people of the USA. So here in Colombia I am an estadunidense, or more commonly, a gringo. The word 'gringo' has no negative connotations. It's just a word used to refer to somebody from the USA. When you think about it, the word 'American' has two meanings - the nationality of the USA (as used by english speaking countries), and the descriptive word for any person from the American continents. But most Latin Americans don't recognize the two meanings. They know all people of the Americas are Americans/Americanos/Americanas. So, for anyone traveling to any Latin American/Caribbean country, do not say you are American when asked where you are from. Say you are from the United States, or say you are an estadounidense, then they will know exactly what you are talking about AND won't be offended. Many Latin Americans take offense to the notion that only people in the US are Americans. That attitude is why people in the US have a bad reputation, a reputation of being arrogant. And if you are traveling in another country the last thing you want to do is offend the people of that country.

Please consider helping me if you can, click on the Western Union logo for information, or donate via the CrowdRise link. If you already have, thank you, again. Much appreciated! I would like to be able to provide books to my students as most cannot afford to buy them, they are expense. So some students make photocopies of my books, but that is, obviously, against copyright laws, but is normal and acceptable here in Colombia. To photocopy and entire book is only around 20mil pesos (about $10 US), but to buy the same book new is around 90mil pesos (90,000, about $50 US). Right now of all my students only 1 (one) has actually purchased their own copy from the book store. All the others make photocopies of mine, or use no book at all.

That's about all for now, till next time, take care!


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Chip Wiegand

I teach english as a foreign language in Barranquilla, Colombia. In my previous life, as I call it, I was an IT guy, systems administrator, computer tech, as well as a shipping/receiving guy and also worked as a merchandising guy for a year for a camping/RV accessories store.

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To make a transfer via Western Union (do not use Moneygram) send it to my wife -

Name: Sandra Milena Cabrera Vargas

City: Barranquilla

State: Atlantico (may not be necessary)

Country: Colombia

Then be sure to send me an email with the MTCN number.

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