From MODERN HEBREW GRAMMAR by Lewis Glinnert: 4 The definite article ה ‘The’ is usually ה, pronounced ha. It is always prefixed to the noun, e.g. ‘the light’. האור (So, too, are all other one-letter words, such as בְ ‘in’ and כְ ‘as’.) Note: Newsreaders and teachers may pronounce it as הֶwith certain words, but coming from an ordinary person this will sound pedantic. When combining ְב and ְל with ה the’, one has to run them together to make בָ and לָ , thus בַבוקר in the morning (not בְהַבוקר)
לַסוף to the end Not לְהַסוף
Yes, it sounds mostly like "אֲנִי צוֹפֶה בַּמַּיִם" to me.
But it also sounds like "אֲנִי צוֹפֶה בְּמַיִם" to me.
I would certainly prefer that these presumably professional speakers used clearer diction, but this is probably more realistic, normal speech.
No, ב can sometimes mean "in", but other times it simply marks the object of certain verbs (like watch, support, etc.).
It's similar to in English how "I see water" is correct but "I look water" is not correct. We have to say "I look AT water." But when look is used intransitively (i.e. "I am looking") there is not need for the at. It is only added to mark the object of the verb. Similar in Hebrew.
I can hear the final mem.
Since צופה requires ב for the thing you are watching, without the final mem, it would translate to May - I am watching at May. Watching a director would be צופה בבמאי, because it still needs the preposition ב.
On the other hand, watching for would mean expect, if I understand your point and in that case you would need the root in pi'el אני מצפה לבמאי - I am expecting /awaiting the director.
Thanks. So grammar and context would have solved this answer too. I am curious if you hear the clipping elsewhere in the Hebrew course. I hear it often in this course and don't hear it in any other course. So I have assumed the problem was with the Hebrew application. They did not use duolingo's normal voice system but insisted on recording everything themselves. Perhaps there is something in this difference. Do you or anyone else using Hebrew have the same problems? Thanks again.