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What is the best way of expressing 'dates back to' in Mandarin? e.g. the family's lineage dates back to 1720..etc

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

'Dates back to' is usually translated into '追溯到', which literally means 'trace back to'.

When used in a sentence, people usually add 可以 (can/may) or 要 (have to) before 追溯到, for example:

这个城堡要追溯到罗马时代。 (The history of) this castle dates back to Roman times.

这个家族的历史可以追溯到十七世纪。This family can trace its history back to the 17th century.

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Great answer! Thanks! – Rowan Oct 20 '13 at 9:55
@Rowan please mark it as answer if it answered your question:) – NS.X. Oct 21 '13 at 4:53

A very formal way to translate this word is “追(zhuī)朔(shuò)到(dào)”。

For example: 中(Zhōnɡ)国(ɡuó)的(de)历(lì)史(shǐ)可(kě)以(yǐ)追(zhuī)朔(shuò)到(dào) 5000 年(nián)以(yǐ)前(qián)。 ( China’s history dates back to 5000 years ago.)

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The dictionary pronunciation for 溯 is su4, not shuo4, although I'm sure they're both used in practice (My pinyin IME recognizes zhuisudao and zhuishuodao as "追溯到") – Stumpy Joe Pete Oct 23 '13 at 16:58

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