Well, I speak German too, and I'd just like to add that "Michael" isn't pronunced in the same way as it is in Russian, therefore not with an /I/ but with an /e/. And the combination 'ch' is pronunced similarly to /h/ but it's aspirated - thus articulated much more softer than in English, Romance and Slavic languages.
The reason for the inconsistency is snobbery. Because the peasants spoke Anglo-Saxon while the nobility spoke French, the French language has entered the nation's psyche as something associated with wealthy, 'polite' society. This means social climbers through the centuries have tried to add French phrases to their speech, such as enfant terrible and tête à tête. For example, a BBC reporter will strive to call Arsenal's forward 'Ti-air-ree On-ri' but will never attempt a correct pronunciation of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich (let alone Jiří Jarošík) or tennis startlet Maria Sharapova.
Last edited by Vlad_the_Inhaler; 01-Dec-2005 at 15:10.