Two placenames today.
One is Duisburg in Germany, recently in the news because of the tragedy at the Love Parade. In the British media, beside the ‘established anglicization’ (OBGP) ˈdjuːzbɜːɡ, I also heard newsreaders say ˈdjuːɪzbɜːɡ, an obvious spelling pronunciation. In German this place is ˈdyːsbʊʁk, which does not exactly follow the spelling. Personally, given that I learnt German in Kiel in the far north of the country, I tend to pronounce it ˈdyːsbʊɐç (like ˈhambʊɐç Hamburg) unless I remind myself not to.
The other placename is Slaugham, a village just off the main A23 road from London to Brighton, near the intriguingly named Pease Pottage. Driving past, I’ve sometimes idly wondered how this written form is to be interpreted: how do the locals pronounce this name? Does it rhyme with Maugham mɔːm? The answer is no.
Yesterday I was watching a traffic police video programme on television, when the action moved to this area. As the officers in the pursuit car reported their position over the radio I noted with interest that they called it ˈslɑːfəm. So it’s like laughter, not like slaughter. The old BBC Pronouncing Dictionary of British Names says it can be either ˈslɑːfəm or ˈslæfəm, prioritizing the latter.