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I'm having some difficulty with this sentence from the Tobira textbook:

「電気の町」秋葉原は、最近「オタクの町」だとも言われている。

First, I'm not sure what the first set of parentheses do to the sentence. Is that part supposed to modify 秋葉原 and mean something like "As for Akihabara, the town of electricity/lights"? That sounds a bit off to me, but I have no idea. I've never seen parentheses used in that way before.

Second, I'm uncertain about とも. Should these be treated as two separate particles, と and も. How about translating the second part as, recently, (it) has also been called "town of otakus."

  • Those are actually quotation marks, not parentheses. – Eiríkr Útlendi Oct 12 '15 at 5:50
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The usage of quotes in「電気の町」秋葉原 is the same as in English, giving a notion of "being known as", "being called as".

Akihabara "the Electric Town"...

とも in this case are two separate particles. With と being a particle for direct quotation 〜と言われている and も for "also", "in addition to".

Your translation is fine, but I think more appropriate would be:

Akihabara "the Electric Town" recently is being said to be "a Town of/for otaku" too.

Just to mean "...is also called..." there is a seemingly redundant だ in Japanese phrase.

Its interpretation might vary depending on reader, but for me it indicates the author writes about two different qualities of the district: one appealing to electronic geeks, one to "otaku" and describes them using the nicknames 電気の町 and オタクの町. As opposed to focusing on how the district is commonly called.

In this respect 電気の町 and オタクの町 stand here for a class of a place (districts such called could and in fact exist in other cities).

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I think you were on the right path when pondering your questions. The words in the parentheses do modify Akihabara. I'd probably translate it as "'The Electric Town' Akihabara..." And as for the second sentence you're spot on.

"'The Electric Town' Akihabara has also recently been known as 'Otaku Town'."

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