Ben Rutter says
I saw this today and thought it might have a place on your blog. Can you legislate for variation in pronunciations?!?
—while Jürgen Trouvain refers to an article in German:
[This] article from the online service of the "Tagesschau", the most popular news magazine in German television, highly reputed for decades, might be of interest.
(The banner illustrating the Tagesschau article, reproduced above, has got its IPA symbols slightly confused. No one is at all likely to say nəˈvədə. The deprecated version is nəˈvɑdə, or with length marks nəˈvɑːdə.)
Reading further in the Politics Daily report, you can see that something deeper is involved than a run-of-the-mill disagreement over how to pronounce some ordinary vocabulary item. The pronunciation that most British people use, -ˈvɑːdə, is evidently perceived by Americans as “the Spanish pronunciation”.
Mortenson says he's not asking Nevadans to change. He just wants the Spanish pronunciation recognized.
This accords with the common but inaccurate identification by Americans of Spanish a with their own LOT vowel. (The British, in contrast, are perfectly happy to identify the Spanish vowel with English TRAP, as in Málaga, Spanish ˈmalaɣa, anglicized as ˈmæləɡə).
So what lies behind Mortenson’s proposal seems to be the deep-laid but irrational fear among many Americans that English is somehow being displaced by Spanish.
The Tagesschau article refers also to a number of German placenames whose spelling does not indicate the pronunciation unambiguously: Itzehoe, Coesfeld, Stralsund, Bleckede, Varel, Grevenbroich, Troisdorf and Poing, which are respectively ɪtsəˈhoː, ˈkoːsfɛlt, ˈʃtraːlzʊnt, ˈbleːkədə, ˈfaːrəl, ɡreːvn̩ˈbroːx, ˈtroːsdɔɐf, ˈpoːɪŋ — to which we might also add Duisburg ˈdyːsbʊɐk (blog, 29 July).