6

All of my studies so far have suggested that i-adjectives never take だ (です can be used to make the sentence polite). Then I came across this sentence:

私が世界で一番偉いだって??

I'm the greatest in the world??

I'm not really comfortable with what the って is doing at the end here and I don't understand why だ is needed. How does this grammar work and how does the nuance differ from

私が世界で一番偉いか??

9

There is nothing incorrect or ungrammatical about the sentence:

「[私]{わたし}が[世界]{せかい}で[一番偉]{いちばんえら}いだって??」

because this is different from saying:

「私が世界で一番偉い。」, which is ungrammatical.

「だって」 in the sentence in question is placed after a quote, is it not?

私が世界で一番偉いだって?? =

『私が世界で一番偉い。』だって??

Depending on the context, it may be:

私が『世界で一番偉い』だって??

This 「だって」 expresses one's surprise, criticism, etc. toward the statement that is being quoted. The fact that the quoted statement happens to end in an i-adjective has no effect on the validity of 「だって」. 

Since that is a valid usage, you can find it in dictionaries, too. (Not sure about bilingual dictionaries as I almost never use them.)

See definition 三 here:

https://kotobank.jp/word/%E3%81%A0%E3%81%A3%E3%81%A6-561380#E5.A4.A7.E8.BE.9E.E6.9E.97.20.E7.AC.AC.E4.B8.89.E7.89.88

「私が世界で一番偉いか??」 feels very different because it is a plain yes-no question and it does not express the surprise or criticism that I mentioned above which 「だって」 as a sentence-ender expresses.

I think I should mention this before I go. This 「だって」 is pronounced VERY differently than 「だって」 that means "because" as in 「だって女の子だもん!」.

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