What Your Pronunciation Of "Ibiza" Says About You
Every type of clubber has their own special way of butchering the island’s name.
Wikimedia Creative Commons
Illustrations by Arthur Hickman
Nothing sets off a debate amongst clubbers faster than the "proper" pronunciation of Ibiza. I've witnessed countless unhinged disputes between friends over the imaginary "th" (Ihh-biza versus Ihh-bitha), or the introductory "I" (Ee-biza versus Ihh-beeza). It seems like everyone has their own special way of butchering the island's name.
Technically, the correct way to say it is "Eivissa" ("Ee-vee-sa") after the Catalan word for Ibiza. But that's too old-school; even the sun-kissed native Spaniards prefer "Eye-beeth-a" these days." After a bout of speech analysis and deep contemplation, I've concluded that there's no right way for Ibiza to be orally expressed. In the end, it all boils down to where you reside and the dialect innate to your regional nightlife community. I may not be a linguist, but I can sure as hell discern a lot about you and your partying characteristics by the way you pronounce the name of the island.
Here are the four ways to pronounce Ibiza, and what each say about who you are.
1. The Drunk Brit: "Oi-beef-er/Oi-beef-a/Beef/Eye-beef-a"
Clad in an ill-colored deep V-neck, skin-tight jean shorts exposing his stocky thighs, and cheap, rubber flip-flops revealing his unclipped toenails, the Drunk Brit has no fewer than three Camel Blues dangling from his wilted, dehydrated lips at all times. With his mates, he'll resort to calling the island an abridged "Beef" in casual repartee. "BEEF?! FOHKIN' LOVE IT HERE. YOU GOT A LIGHT FOR MY BACCY, CHAV?"
This chap is usually found in an Ibiza mega-club, amidst the seizing strobes and palpable human funk—likely emanating from his own sebaceous glands. When he's not dozing in and out of consciousness whilst choking on his own vomit in one of the club's dark corners, he's likely dipping his knackered pinky finger into his burlap sack-sized bag of steamy, humidified cocaine, forcefully jamming it up an unwary stranger's nostril. "THAT'S OI-BEEF-ER FOR YA, YA MASSIVE, SICK CUNT!!!"
2. The Pretentious Music Snob: "Ihh-beeth-a/Eye-beeth-a"
This know-it-all spent two weeks in Ibiza three summers ago, earning a few euros distributing flyers for Cocoon's promotional street team. They believe this experience earned them the right to declare themselves a "savant" of the dance music community, and the demigod of everything techno (which they'll giddily pronounce as "tesh-no," because they believe it makes them sound like a well-versed insider.) They claim to be from Miami with "spiritual roots" in Tulum, but they actually still live at home in their parents' basement in Daytona Beach.
"Danny Daze and Matrixxman taught me a lot about the 808," they'll disclose mid-Veuve Cliquot swig in a green room, adding, "The sizes of the Sunwaves stages this year were totally lackluster." Even a fleeting connection to a famous DJ is worth a humble-brag: "Carl Craig's twice-removed cousin's aunt? Total sweetheart; I met her once in Frankfurt mid-layover and also at Fish Shack in Eye-beeth-a." If you withstand a conversation that goes beyond 30 seconds, they'll reach their ultimate talking point: Mykonos vs Ibiza. "Ihh-beeth-a used to be cool, but Mykonos is now royally fucking it," they'll non-sarcastically say.
WHY, you ask, must they pronounce their words with a Spanish lisp? Because they "owe it to the White Isle" and it's "respectful to the Es Vedrà's all-encompassing energy."
3. The Nightlife Professional: "Ee-beetz-ah/Ihh-beetz-ah/Oi-beetz-ah
European one-percenter DJs, bi-coastal publicists, and DJ agents who try to close deals mid-urination stream in VIP bathrooms live for "Ee-beetz-ah." They speak it ever so gently, both on radio shows and in person, hoping to sound as smooth as one of Kaskade's vocalists over a Funktion-One.
"Ee-beetz-ah," though, is not only reserved for the DJs who own land in Ibiza and make tons of profit off their merchandise. It's also spoken by "bi-coastal" publicists, and DJ agents attempting to negotiate deals and contracts in artist's trailers backstage at music festivals while simultaneously trying to score some grade-A blow.
"Have you been to Ee-beetz-ah this season yet? Elrow opening was absolutely killer," claims a New York-based publicist who will proceed to corner you, wielding a plastic, Adidas Stan Smith's, and a 360-degree ring of white powder circling their right nostril. "Ee-beetz-ah is where it's at this summer. My DJs are loving it."
4. The Puzzled American: "Ihh-bee-za"/"Ee-bee-za"
The Puzzled American couldn't locate Ibiza on a map if their life depended on it—they just showed up on the island with a book nobody's ever heard of after winning a 5-day getaway from their favorite radio station.
They still think all electronic music is "EDM," and the only reason they say "Ihh-bee-za" is because that's the way Mike Posner sings it in his chart-topping song. The Puzzled American thinks that BPM is just a station on Sirius XM.
Even though nobody's popped molly since Ultra 2013, they're completely oblivious to how the times have changed. "Have you seen molly?" They'll ask their friend's dealer via text, who will reply: "Bitch, it's 2017, everyone's on ketamine now."
When they're not listening to a "Top 50 EDM Hits of 2017" playlist with their frayed Apple earbuds, they're jamming out to Carrie Underwood hits. If you showed them a picture of Josh Wink, they'd say, "Ah, I fucking love 'Weird Al' Yankovic!"
Follow Austin Gebbia on Twitter