It wasn’t a trick question, though many crew thought it was. We were just curious to learn how our industry can pronounce this important yachting region two separate ways.
The more common was the way non-Americans say it, CaribBEan, with the emphasis on the third syllable, as in Pirates of the Caribbean.
Americans and Canadians tended to say CaRIbbean, with the emphasis on the second syllable, as in the cruise line Royal Caribbean.
So our survey results today likely reflect how many North American crew we talked to.
There’s a lot of debate in the linguistic world about this and there really is no right answer. Intelligent people use either one, and some use both, depending if it is a noun or an adjective.
For the record, though, the American journalist’s go-to reference on these matters (the Webster’s New World College Dictionary) lists both, but the English-style pronunciation with the accent on the third syllable is listed first, even though that’s not the way Americans say it.
First Mate Brent Marks
M/Y Lady Linda
It depends on what I’m asked. I drink the Carib beer, so it’s CaRIbbean.
Stew Jessica Mellington
I’m from Australia so I say CaribBEan
Eng. Jason Holt
Americans do CaRIbbean. It’s kind of like the beer.
Chef Geno Accetta
I switch it up.
Stew Mariana Cecato
I’m from Brazil. I would never think to say CaRIbbean. It sounds strange, and it’s hard for me to say.
Capt. Jay Kimmel
M/Y Sharon Ann
Who am I talking to? I’m from California. I used to say CaribBEan, now I say more CaRIbbean since I moved here [to the U.S. East Coast].
Bosun Tim Brodie
185-foot Perini Navi
It’s CaribBEan. That’s proper English.
Capt. Chris Lewis
M/Y Ellix Too
CaribBEan. Or shall I just say ‘correctly’.
Stew Krista Glauner
M/Y Battered Bull
CaRIbbean. Actually, I say both. It’s Pirates of the CaribBEan, but I still CaRIbbean. There’s that.
Chief Stew Jessica Orr
M/Y Big Zip
We use them both interchangeably now, don’t we? I guess it depends what comes before it.