I find it fascinating how my English-speaking brain automatically shifts the prepositional phrase to the end. Even though "Please give to me the telephone" is theoretically correct, my mind just goes "Nope. Move it along!"
I would say that "please give to me the telephone" is not good English. You can say "please give me the telephone" though -- and I think that's considered the "best answer"by the course.
'Bonvolu' ne tute samsignifas la Anglan vorton, 'Please.' Anstataŭe, ĝi signifas ion pli kiel 'Would you be so kind as to...'
"Please give me the telephone"
Pli bone: "Mi petas vin doni al mi la telefonon."
Mi pardonpetas, sed mi legas vian frazon (angle) kiel: Here is the telephone, please answers that that.
Sxajnas ke tio ne estas vera. Kaj PMEG kaj Reta Vortaro montras "bonvole/bonvolu" kaj "mi petas" kiel samsignifajn frazojn.
Cxu vere? Cxu vi povas montri iom da ekzemploj al mi? Cxar mi neniam vidis ian diferencon cxe ilia uzado. (P.S: Mi ne tute certas cxu mi skirbas korekte, do ne hezitu korekti iun ajn eraron kiun mi eble faris cxi tie!)
Nu, laŭ "Being Colloquial In Esperanto":
voli = want, be willing, choose, have a mind to.
Mi volis respondi al via letero, sed vermoj formanĝis la krajonon = I wanted to reply to your letter, but worms ate the pencil.
To stress willingness rather than real desire, it is usual to use the compound bonvoli = "to be willing." As a noun **bonvolo is someone's benevolence, good will, or kindness.
volo de Dio = will of God
Ni venis pro ŝia bonvolo = We came through her good will.
Bonvolu is usual to mean "please" in polite requests and could probably be literally translated "have the kindness to." It is followed by the infinitive. (Noto: A minority usage makes bonvole an adverb and uses it with a verb in the U-mood: Bonvole pagu lin. "Please pay him.")
In writing, the abbreviation bv. often substitutes for "bonvolu." Bonvolu! is also a polite expression used to signal that the other person should take the thing offered, when passing out candies or snacks, for example. (= Please have some!") It may also be used in ceding the way to someone else, as through a door (= "After you!") or to invite someone to proceed with his/her plans (= "Go right ahead!") It is sometimes used by a host to suggest that the guests may start eating.
Peti = to ask (someone for) something, petition.
Mi petis, ke ŝi iru = I asked her to go.
Donu al mi la telefonon, mi petas. = I'm (politely) asking you to give me the phone.
I do hope that this helps. I know that the default (and polite) translation of peti is usually "please," and it is often used that way but the root of the word is still making a request for something (often tangible), as opposed to asking about someone's good will/benevolence.
P.S. mi trovis vian Esperanton esti tre klara.
I know this is an old post, but for those reading along, this is not really true. Yes, literally speaking "bonvolu" means "have the good will to..." but idiomatically it really does just mean "please".
"Please give me the telephone" is the best translation.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that this is a direct object, indirect object issue. Telephone is the direct object and takes the accusative case. In English, we could represent the indirect object with a preposition+ object at the end of the sentence ("Please give the telephone to me"), or we could use word order with indirect object preceding the direct object ("please give me the telephone"). I don't believe that Esperanto uses word order to mark an indirect object so a preposition (in this case 'al') in front of the indirect object is required. I think the indirect object pair 'al mi' could come before or after the direct object depending on whether you were trying to emphasize the "giving to me" aspect or the "telephone not some other object" aspect.
cxu gxi estas malgxusta skribi "gimme" anstataux "give me"? Cxu "gimme" estas nur jxargono?
Jes, la vorto gimme aŭ gimmee nur estas ĵargono kaj ne akceptebla al la strigo.
Sed, estas bona, ke vi konas la vorton por kiam vi parolas al Anglalingvanoj.
I'm surprised that it doesn't take "Please give me the phone." It does accept phone instead of telephone elsewhere, doesn't it?
Why does Esperanto require it to be "doni al mi" instead of just "doni mi"? It seems a little unwieldy to say "give to me" every time instead of just "give me".
It differentiates between the direct and indirect object. Here, the d. object is 'telefono', which becomes 'telefonon'. The ind. object is 'mi', which is marked by 'al' and does not become 'min'.
The indirect object could be said to be the direction of the action -- to me. The direct object is what the action is being done to -- the telephone.
What I can recall from my grade school English classes (back during the Norman conquest, my grandparents fought dinosaurs, y'know.) the proper English form is "give to me." "Give me" is, or at least used to be, seen as brusk and uncouth.
I would love to have more about this than some dimply recalled English classes "back before the Norman conquest."
This flies in the face of my intuition on the subject. French and Spanish has direct and indirect pronouns which work very much like English does. German has a dative case - as did Old English. By middle English we'd lost the dative case and used the pronoun "me".
Consider the following middle English sentence (with modern vocabulary.)
- ‘He said Bede that the King Ecfrid him often promised much on land and property’
- ‘He said to Bede that King Ecfrid often promised him much land and property’
Notice that the indirect objects "to Bede" and "(promised) him" are expressed by word order, and not by "to". So word-order expression has been part of English for longer than your story seems to suggest.
What am I missing?
English can get away with things such as "give me" because of strict and inflexible rules about word order which English speakers absorb as young children or through years of formal study. Esperanto doesn't have these rules.
Why doesn't English allow people to say "give I the book" or "me give the book"? It's because English has rules. The rules are different from Esperanto's rules, but they're there. This comment seems to be saying "why isn't Esperanto English?"
MechFactions has given a good grammatical explanation of how the indirect object works. It practice, as I hope you've discovered in two years, it really is not unwieldy to say "donu al mi"
Is there access to the notes on the mobile version? I haven't seen them.
Isn't there? Not having them is sort of like trying to learn the language with a handicap.
If you are on FB then you should go to the Duolingo Esperanto FaceBook page & express your complaint.
But to answer your question, as briefly as I can: You normally cannot have two imperatives in the same sentence.
As far as I can tell, there are not any notes on the mobile version. I got about a third of the way through French using only the mobile version, before I realized what great notes I could get if I used the big computer instead. Usually, it's not that much of a problem not to have the notes, because a lot of nice people answer questions about these things in the comments. It would certainly be nice to have the notes on the mobile version, though.
"Bonvolu" works a bit differently from "please." I think it is actually "Be of good will."
"Bonvolu doni al mi..." is similar to the English "(Be so kind as) (to give) ...to me."
The command form is only used for the first verb (bonvolu/be), and the infinitive is used in the second (doni/to give).
Not on all platforms, apparently yet. But if you have a "non-mobile" device then yes.