Is it very common that the pronunciation of letters changes when words are inflected? (like here v <--> b, k <--> kh, or vav pronounced like a vowel <--> consonant etc.) I've seen it quite often. Are they any patterns for this I should be aware of?
The contraction itself isn't common in everyday language. But you'll never hear an Israeli saying "kalvi" instead of kalbi or "abi" instead of avi
The pattern followed here is this one: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Segolate Another very common pattern is that, sometimes, a consonant in its strong form comes to follow a shwa after inflection. When that happens, it becomes weak. That's why it also happens a lot with prefixing.
Lol, what? Mine does. She's actually a cat though, so maybe that has something to do with it.
Arabic: "Kalb", Hebrew: "Kelev". But in the 1st person singular genitive they both become "Kalbi".
And in a variant of colloquial Arabic, kalb can become "kaleb", (even closer)
Well, ויפתח יהוה את פי האתון ותאמר לבלעם מה עשיתי לך כי הכיתני זה שלש רגלים Num. 22.28 And YHWH opened the mouth of the jenny donkey, and she said to Balaam: What have I done to you that you have given me blows these three times? Indeed the only speaking animal in the Bible besides the נָחָשׁ is this she-ass! אָתוֹן is the very rare case that there is a unique word for the female animal not related to its male counterpart.