"Кошке хочется молока."
Translation:The cat would like some milk.
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Your example seems to illustrate a different construction. Subject (nom.) + хотеть + direct object (acc.) is a familiar pattern from previous exercises. But this sentence is different. It appears to be Indirect object (dat.) + хотеться + subject (?). If the milk isn't the subject, as per your below comment, what part of speech is it?
No, it's not a subject. The milk does not want itself. The explicit subject is missing in this construction - this is hard to imagine in English, but not so uncommon even in languages close to English, such as German. Since you study it as well, you may recognise examples like "Mir ist kalt". (The subject - "es" ("it") is implicit.)
..Soo 'молока' as some of the (well known/offered) milk, and ' молоко' as one of the ( offered) drinks. Sooo the tighter the choice, the more common the case (grammatical) which could lead us towards maybe nominative if we go into a molecular level or subatomic.. no no I'm just kidding. But the broader choice has more cases (about eight I think..) to offer; I'm just getting philosophical :-)))
We learned earlier that to express “the cat wants milk” it’s just “кошка хочет молоко” - what is this “хочется”? Where is this “-ся” suffix coming from? In what contexts is it necessary? I don’t understand the purpose of this extra complication. What would its English equivalent be?
-ся (or -сь if the word ends with a vowel) is the suffix that makes the verb reflexive. In the case of хотеть, making the verb reflexive gives it an impersonal or passive flavour, so it's a little less direct and more polite. That's why above they've translated it to "would like", which is more polite than "wants".
Unfortunately, I do not think it always makes it Dative
I washed myself - Я умылся
He shaved himself - Он побрился.
What makes it Dative here is the rule:
[Dative] likes [Nominative] EXCEPT in this case it is not [Nominative] but [Genitive] because it is "some milk"
No, not really. This is for the ones with the same question about "Why dative before хочется" and it is rather constructive: http://webhome.auburn.edu/~mitrege/russian/tutorials/0065.html
Partly for the same reason it can't be "The cat wishes some milk", which is given for me as the Correct Answer: because in English "wishing X" is just not a thing. Wishing for? Sure. Not just plain wishing. Unless the subject has psychic powers and is "wishing X into existence." But that's an entirely different story.
It was there by mistake, I've removed "wishes" from the list of acceptable translations.
Btw, you can "wish something" in English, but that something has to preceded by an indirect object: I wish you luck.