"כמה עולָה דירה חדשה בצפון תל אביב?"
Translation:How much does a new apartment in North Tel Aviv cost?
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I am hearing the voice as saying bi-tzfon instead of be-tzfon, and I think I have noticed this pattern in several other sentences from the course; does the way you pronounce ב- depend on what comes next, or is there some variation amongst speakers? (… Or do I have bad ears? Or at least, some hearing bias stemming from my native language? ;))
It is bi-tzfon, because that is the correct pronunciation. be-tzfon is, I guess, the more common way of pronouncing it. The rule is that when there is a shva under the first letter of the word, when you add an inseparable prefix, because there can't be two shvas next to each other, the first one (under the prefix) becomes a hiriq. This rule followed mostly in formal settings only.