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I have been recently trying to read novels in Japanese but there are some compound phrases which I have found hard to grasp.

今のご時世、高校生の連絡先の最低ラインってガラケーじゃないんですか?

それすらもレアメタルがどうたらで回収される世の中ではないのですか?

  1. Researching the kana for the second sentence I found レアメタル to be "rare metal" which doesn't make sense in its context.
  2. What does the grammatical structure beginning with どうたらで stand for?
  3. What is the meaning of the phrase?

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レアメタル is indeed "rare metal" (or rare earth), and どうたら/どうたらこうたら is like "blah-blah", "such-and-such", "you-know-what". It's used in place of an obvious and/or unimportant part. The following questions are related.

So "レアメタルがどうたら" means "rare metals are blah blah blah" And in case you didn't know, phones contain a lot of rare metals.

This で is a particle with various meanings, but in this case it denotes a reason/cause or background situation.

それすらもレアメタルがどうたらで回収される世の中ではないのですか?
Aren't we in the times where even they (ガラケー?) are collected (or taken over) saying "rare metals are blah blah blah"?

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  • Thinking about that, I wonder if you could translate どうたらで as "somehow" as in, "Even with that, somehow these rare-earth metals are getting recovered aren't they?" What do you think?
    – sazarando
    Jun 29, 2016 at 5:31
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    This どうたら is used because the speaker doesn't want to bother to explain about it (because it's obvious and trivial). I feel "somehow" is used mainly when the speaker doesn't know how to describe the reason/situation, so it may be different. Maybe "due to that rare-metal stuffs", "you-know-what" works?
    – naruto
    Jun 29, 2016 at 5:59
  • Throwing ガラケー in the jisho gives ガラ携. Which probably means the older flip-phone style of keitai.
    – Leo
    Jun 29, 2016 at 6:02
  • Is saying "due to that rare metal...you know what" natural? I'm pretty bad at English colloquial expressions, but if this works, this should be more literal...
    – naruto
    Jun 29, 2016 at 6:14

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