Hello everyone!
As a TEFL teacher in Spain I often get students using the word "claim" when they mean "complain". Of course I explain about claiming lost property, staking a claim, baggage reclaim, insurance claim, claiming something is true etc etc.. but when I taught in Japan students made the same mistake. I can find NOTHING on the internet about stds confusing these words.. can they mean the same thing in American English??

Can anyone help?
Hello Guest

Perhaps it's because every 'complaint' implies (or embodies) a 'claim' that one deserved better treatment in some respect.

And we often hope that our complaint will lead to a refund or compensation of some kind; so you could say that by making a complaint, we are implicitly 'claiming back' something.

These implications seem to be closer in Spanish: I seem to recall that you make a 'reclamación' to the manager of a shop, for instance, whereas we 'make a complaint' about something. (I think that 'reclamar' is also used in the sense of 'claim', where we 'claim' damages or expenses.)

Maybe something similar obtains in Japanese!

Hello Guest

I'm a Japanese. You are quite right. We have a word 'kureimu' that originally came from English 'claim'. My wife might use this Japanized 'claim' like this way: "Papa, this morning I put a claim to our neighbor Ms Koizumi, because their dog barked at me so furiously yesterday evening."
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Don't know about Japan, but in Spain it is easy to see the L1 interference at work. Reclamar is one verb in Spanish among others used to make complaints. Reclamar also includes the idea of redress, to make things right. The best equivalent for our verb complain is the Spanish quejar as in Me quejaba del sevicio. (still not sure if it should be reflexive though) = I complained about the service. Also, in Spain, traditionally every establishment dealing with the public, from shops to laundries to restaurants and hotels, has a "book of complaints" = libreta de reclamaciones in which the complainer may write a formal complaint and expect a written reply. Nowadays, one is hard put to actually find such a booklet, though larger firms like El Corte Ingles do supply customers with compalint forms on request
 paco2004's reply was promoted to an answer.
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