Translation:I want to teach you the history of my country.
I know מדינה is a cognate of the Arabic word for city but does it have any connection with the actual city of Medina? It seems that these two words are pronounced the same in Arabic so how exactly did that happen and which one originated from the other?
In this sentence, את seems to appear twice. Once as את, and once as אותך. But I thought את is only supposed to indicate the direct object of the sentence, which is אותך. From the definitions of grammar ההיסטוריה is the indirect object of ללמד.
What definitions? The verb ללמד has a few usage possibilities, one of them is with two direct objects as in this example.
In English grammar, it is impossible for a verb to have two direct objects. If two objects appear, one object is the direct object, and the other is the indirect object. In the sentence, "I taught you my history", the direct object is "my history" and "you" is the indirect object. (I confused the two in my previous post.)
I can't find any reference that says the definitions in Hebrew are any different, that a Hebrew verb can take two direct objects. Indeed, these definitions of direct and indirect objects apply to all languages. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Object_(grammar) Some languages do allow two direct objects, but this appears only in special grammatical constructs. An ordinary verb like 'to teach' simply has a direct and indirect object.
Well, maybe there's a confusion of terminology here, because Hebrew doesn't have case markings; but I think some languages, if not all, allow more than one accusative in a sentence. Maybe that's the case here. Maybe when we are talking about "direct object" we really mean "accusative", but we don't say "accusative" because Hebrew doesn't have case markings. I'm only guessing here. All I know is לימד can have two objects that appear direct, even though their role is clearly different.
A few clues in your response allowed me to piece together what is happening here. I now believe that both ללמד and לשאול are exceptional verbs where את is used to mark both the direct and indirect objects.
This seems like a direct 'translation' of two exceptional German words 'lehren' (teach) and 'fragen' (ask), which conjugate both direct and indirect objects in the accusative. In German, the direct object is usually conjugated in the accusative and indirect as the dative, but as you see there are exceptions. It's important to realize the difference between these concepts, since 'accusative' refers to grammatical case which usually indicates grammatical function, while 'direct object' describes the actual grammatical function.
Long story short, these two Hebrew words use את twice, which is unusual. To understand why, you need to understand the grammar of German, spoken by a large number of people who revived Hebrew.
Here are a few pages that discuss this aspect of German grammar, http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/verbs-with-two-accusatives-fragen.1159852/, http://german.stackexchange.com/questions/28269/difference-between-accusative-and-direct-object.
It does indeed seem like those who revived Hebrew somehow managed to import this peculiarity of German grammar into Hebrew, despite Hebrew not having a case system!