For example, what would be the difference in pronunciation of the hiriq in these two words: נִקּוּד and תִּינוֹק?

What about רִאשׁוֹן? Is it "Rishon" similar to "pit" or "Reeshon" similar to "pizza"?

Preferably I would like to receive answers for both ashkenazi and sefardi pronunciations which would aid in the recitation of the daily prayers.

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    Grammatically one is a "long vowel" and one is a "short vowel". Whether or not you distinguish those in pronunciation is another story. – Double AA Feb 3 '15 at 14:45
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    @AniYodea Traditionally, there are two different 'hiriq' vowels: the long one is usually denoted with a yud after it, while the short on is usually denoted without it. – Double AA Feb 3 '15 at 15:12
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    @AniYodea Right, but I said "usually" for a reason :) – Double AA Feb 3 '15 at 15:14
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    Are Hebrew questions not off-topic? – CashCow Feb 3 '15 at 15:21
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    @CashCow unless they are related to Judaism. – Ani Yodea Feb 3 '15 at 15:25

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