Well, the sentence "Li donas al ni lakton" or "Li donas lakton al ni" would literally translate to "He gives milk to us," where "us" would not be the indirect object but the object of a preposition.
Now, I'm not sure how Esperanto handles objects of prepositions, but I'm sure one of the grammar pages on duolingo says that nouns preceded by a preposition never get the -n. However, I've also read that da and de mark indirect objects, so they might not actually count as prepositions.
Don't forget Esperanto is a mixture of many languages, and in this case the phrase is very GERMANIC:
Li donas al ni la lakton-
◘ Subject: Li (he)
◘Verb: doni (give)
◘ Direct object: well, i'm giving wilk, not "giving us", so milk is the accusative/ direct object of my sentence.
◘ Indirect object: The milk was given to us, the milk is the direct object, so IT us given to US.... al ni is the indirect object.
And because Esperanto is a mixture of many languages you can also say Li donas la lakton al ni, which is a bit more complicated but it's ok!!
That's a good idea but I guess we should be a little bit careful about the word order when you want to emphasize something.. look below..
Mi vin amas. I love you. (I, for you am loving.) Vin mi amas. I love you. (It is you that i love.) Vin amas mi. I love you. (You are loved by me.) Amas mi vin. I love you. (Love is what i have for you.) Amas vin mi. I love you. (Loving you is what i'm doing.)
I got this from http://esperanto.org/stanford/leciono-0-order/
I think the preferred order depends on one's native language, as many other things.
It's the same as, for instance "ši estas bela" and "ši belas": they're both correct, but, as in english we'd say "she's beautiful", we'd be more likely to use the first one. Maybe people from other countries tend to prefer the latter instead
Some other word orders:
Li donas al ni lakton. (He, is who gives milk to us)
Lakton li donas al ni. (Milk, is what he gives us)
Al ni li donas lakton. (Us, is whom he gives milk to)
Donas li lakton al ni. (To give, is what he does with milk to us.)
I'm not sure if they're all accepted. Correct me if I'm wrong.
So did I; that's why I looked at the discussion. I have tinnitus, and I have Music Choice playing on both the TV and the computer, and the computer lags behind the TV a fair bit; it's like hearing two people singing a round. So, I don't think I'm in a good position to make good judgments about what he actually says. But I played it several times after getting it wrong, and it sounds like "mi" to me.
well, n and m actually sound very much alike.
if there are plenty instances in English in which it's easy to separate, like when spelling the letters alone, it doesn't make it any less similar in so many other instances, like the last n in "mountain" or the last m in "i'm".
plus he does speak "al ni" very fast.