Couple of fine-tuning points for HALLEL, which we will be saying 8 times, IY"H, pretty soon.
• A lot of where this column "is coming from", is the common mis-accenting that is endemic in the English-speaking Jewish world (especially from the USA). Some of what appears in this column might seem obvious to some readers, but often comes as shocks for people who have been mis-accenting words forever and always. Casein point: First chapter of Hallel (T'hilim 113). HA- MAG-BI-HI, HA-MASH-PI-LI, M'KI-MI, L'HO-SHI- VI, MO-SHI-VI - every one of these words is pronounced MILRA, i.e. on the last syllable. (Even if the meaning of the word is not changed by misaccenting it, one should strive for proper pronunciation of all of davening (and Torah reading).
• Second chapter (114): RA-K'DU, not RAK-DU. We've done the SH'VA NA and NACH and which syllables they belong to a lot in this column. Same reason. Native English speakers (and others) are traditionally poor on this topic. In addition to which syllable a letter with a SH'VA belongs, there is also that fact that a SH'VANACH is silent and a SH'VA NA is sounded like a very short vowel. In the above example, not only is the K (KUF) part of the second syllable, but is heard more than the K in the second example. Say the English word rock. Now say commercial (the way a New Yorker says it, at least). Phonetically, it comes out K'MER -SH'L.The Opening sound of commercial has something on the K sound. The K sound in rock does not. Get the idea?
• And toward the end of the second passage of Hallel, we have another word we've presented often in this column - one of G-d's names. Technically, there are two syllables. The first is eLO, this is the one that gets the accent, and AHH (or WAH, in S'faradi pronunciation), but not HA. ELOHA is a mispronunciation of G-d's name. Shouldn't be done. No matter how used to it you are. No matter how hard it is for you to say eLO-ahh (that's ELO-AK rather than ELOKA). Hallel is a song of praise to HaShem. At least pronounce His name correctly.
And at the very end of the second passage, we find L'MA-Y'NO, not L'MAI-NO. The MEM with a PATACH is followed by an AYIN with a SH'VA NACH. That's the first syllable (with the LAMED and its SH'VA NA prefixed to it. L'MA. No effect from the YUD that comes next. That YUD is part of the second syllable, Y'NO. <plenty more>