"Mr Owl, how many licks does it take to get to the tootsie-roll center of a tootsie-pop?"
Technically, esperanto does have a dative and genitive case, but they don't have affixes. They use "al" and "de la". But that's just my linguistic nerdiness coming out.
Actually, no. If they don't have affixes, you don't call them cases in linguistics.
So why is nominative a case then, by that definition? Is -o treated as "nominative case noun affix"?
Good point, I forgot to mention that. The nominative is unmarked in Esperanto, but it stands in opposition to the only marked case, the accusative (in -n), and so it is treated as a case, too. While most languages don't mark the nominative, as it is a kind of default case, some actually do.
Nominative is a case because it hasn't got any "general" affix. So that's the way you'll find the word in the dictionary.
Oh, I seem to have been mistaken. I thought they didn't need to have affixes, but I think there still is a genitive case as seen with the possessive pronoun's (mia, lia, via, etc) and the genitive correlatives (kies, ties, etc).
Kies etc. could indeed be called genitives, probably, although I'd probably just treat them as "possessive interrogative/relative/... pronouns". But mia etc. are adjectives, not genitive nouns. Also in German and English "my" and "mein" are treated as adjectives, not as genitive. You can see that they can receive the accusative ending.
This is slightly off topic...but would the Welsh mutations count as cases or not? After all, a case can have multiple uses, and not all nouns have to have separate forms for all cases...
You're right. Esperanto has two cases, not more. What counts is the inflection. Otherwise Esperanto would have dozens of cases, one for every proposition.
The first thing that popped into my mind when I saw this sentence was "Esperanto detective agency".
Kial la anglalingvanoj neniam prenas iliajn kazojn al ni?
Estas, vere malkomprenebla. Eble la ĉinalingvanoj, ĉu?
Actually, I would like genitive and dative to have a suffix instead of having "de" and "al" everywhere.
My native (Czech) has seven of them so I have enough, I just don't like seeing "de" and "al" everywhere. Also the "de" needlessly enforces word order.
I agree. It's obviously too fundamental to change (much too fundamental), but it really wouldn't make the language too much more difficult. Imagine:
-es/-esi for the genitive and -od/-ojd for the dative.
And a correlative case (kiele...) for method-how distinct from manner/degree-how (kiel).
Pardonu min, ĉu bonvolu diri mod, kiele atingi la stacion?
La grupo, kiod li apartenas, kunsidos morgaŭ.
Ŝi tiris la levilon kaj tiele ŝtopis la alfluantan akvon.
I know I'm replying to an old comment but; Esperanto was designed to be simple. Extra cases make it harder for some people to learn. "De" and "Al" are a lot easier to learn for people from native languages that are not already abundant with different cases.
Your native language is one with many cases, which is probably why you would prefer Esperanto to have more. (It seems more natural to you.) For me, I am glad there are only two.
And I miss the dative and genitive. And would like to add that the adverb functions much like an instrumental and locative case.
Ok, here is my point: -Mi legas libroN (accusative) -Mi helpas viN (dative) -Mi metas panon en la skatoloN (genitive, locative or adverbial i guess?) Also on wikipedia they say pronouns have some genitive attributes
"Mi putas panon..." Did you mean to write "metas"? "putas" would mean something like "make a well".
That's one case, though. The accusative. Cases aren't counted by what functions they perform, but by their forms. So Esperanto has 2 cases: the one without ending, and the one with the -n at the end. By convention these are called nominative and accusative.
Mi helpas vin is not a dative case, it's accusative. You could argue that Mi donas la libron AL VI uses the dative case, but that's not a case. It's a prepositional phrase.
If you are looking at it this way and apply this logic, then I agree with you, also yes prepositions only form the cases but are not counted as ones. But you can also say English has one case even though it does not have any and there are many languages in which various cases have the same ending yet are a different one. On Wikipedia i have found ''[Esperanto has] two cases nominative/oblique and accusative/allative, [...] the adjectival form of personal pronouns behaves like a genitive case."