- Well, many chapters (like here the eleventh) in the Tanakh begin with a ו that does not connect sentences like and, but marks the start of a new episode, a new turn in a narrative or the introduction of a new character: והנחש היה ערום מכל חית השדה Gen 3.1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any animal of the field or ויהי אחר הדברים האלה והאלהים נסה את אברהם Gen 22.1 Now it happened after these things that God tested Abraham. This English now does not indicate the present time, but tries to express a change of circumstance, many translators leave it simply out. My gosh, the deceptive simplicity of Hebrew syntax really overloads the ubiquitous conjunction ו.
- Well, in reality Gen 11.1 is not a possessive sentence, but a nominal clause, i.e. the earth was language and words. Now the substantival predicate is often used in a broader sense, like a noun of material (הַמִּזְבֵּחַ עֵץ Ez 41.22 the altar (was of) wood), the thing contained (הַדּוּד אֶחָד תְּהֵנִים טֹבוֹת Jr 24.2 one of the baskets (was full of) good figs) or an abstract quality (כׇּל־נְתּיבֹתֶ֫הָ שָׁלוֹם Pr 3.17 all her paths were (of) peace or אֲנִי תְפִילָּה Ps 109.4 I (am a man of) prayer). So less sloppy translated the sentence is worded the whole earth was (of) one language (or lip) and (of) the same words.
Thanks for this question and the two excellent responses. According to Muraoka (Modern Hebrew for Biblical Scholars, xxi), both אותו בית and אותו הבית mean "the same house." I'm guessing that the latter is going to be used if it follows את. If there is a prepositional phrase, of course, then את is not needed, e.g., הוא הולך לאותו הבית כל יום, "he walks everyday to the same house." I bring in Muraoka because he makes two helpful comments about אותו: this sort of usage comes from Mishnaic Hebrew and it is often indistinguishable from the definite article, which may help explain why the two (אותו בית = אותו הבית) are interchangeable.