MiMo - "Nuremberg", "Norimberga", "Norymberga" etc. are not approximations of "Nürnberg" but rather approximations of its older pronuncition, which was probably something like "Norenberg". The modern German pronunication is a corruption of this, just like English "York" is a corruption of old English Eoferwic / Old Norse Jórvík. When the Welsh say "Efrog" (if any still do, that is), they're not trying to approximate "York". So "Nuremberg" is simply what we call that city, and it has nothing to do with the modern pronunciation.
I do get your point, though. When people try to pronounce "Baton Rouge" according to its French pronunciation (the city was almost always an Anglo city), it's hilarious, and anyone who attempts to say street names in New Orleans will invariably be "wrong" if they try to pronounce them "right" (Chartres, Orleans, Cadiz, Calliope, Bourbon, etc.)
Anyway, California81 - I do agree that Americans could at least pronounce your chancellor's name with a hard "g" and even say "mare-kul" instead of "mrr-kul", but personal names for currently living people is one thing and names of cities, islands, countries, historical persons, etc. is another. Usually these things simply have an accepted pronunciation in a certain language.
So if you are speaking Spanish or Catalan, by all means make the effort to pronounce the name of Mallorca exactly as the locals do. But I do not see what is wrong with pronouncing it the way it is pronounced in German when speaking German. In fact, if you go so far as to shorten all of the vowels and to used phonemes that are not standard in German (such as the flapped, NOT trilled or rolled "r": http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stimmhafter_alve...
), then you are essentially switching languages ro pronounce one word.
When I speak German I say "beah-leen" and when I speak Spanish I say "ma-dhreethe" for Berlin and Madrid. But when I speak English they are "brr-lin" and "muh-drid" because that is how they are pronounced in English.
Could the Spanish guy have been laughing because the German said it like that while speaking German which sounds ridiculously out of place and pedantic?
btw - has anyone ever seen this? It's apropos of what we are talking about, and it's hilarious. It's a Saturday Night Live sketch of a bunch of Americans in a newsroom trying to pronounce Spanish words EXACTLY like in Spanish and they sound like idiots.http://www.zimbio.com/watch/f_q1DAi7iEE/Enchi...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGjty394oyw
The first one is much better quality, but I dunno if you can watch it in Germany.
manni3 - Really you pronounce the "r" that way in Bavarian Schwaben? But none of the Swabians I know in either Stuttgart, the Neckar Valley south of there, and even in Oberschwaben say their "r" that way.