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South Carolina State Language


Adopted on April 14, 1987.

South Carolina adopted the English language is the official language of the State of South Carolina in 1987

Since 1981, 25 states have adopted various forms of Official English legislation, in addition to four that had already done so. Subtracting Hawai'i (which is officially bilingual) and Alaska (whose English-only initiative has been declared unconstitutional) leaves a total of 27 states with active Official English laws. These measures are unrelated, however, to the process of amending the U.S. Constitution.

South Carolina State Language: English

5.2 percent of this state's residents speak a language other than English. The most common of these languages are Spanish, French, German, and Tagalog (Philipino). The portion of South Carolinians who speak little or no English has more than tripled since 1990.

South Carolina Laws

The law designating the English as the official South Carolina state language is found in the South Carolina Code of Laws, Title 1, Chapter 1, Article 9, Section 1-1-696 thru 1-1-698.

Title 1 - Administration of the Government
SECTION 1-1-696

§1-1-696. Official State Language.
The English language is the official language of the State of South Carolina.

§1-1-697. Use of Language Other Than English Prohibited.
Neither this State nor any political subdivision thereof shall require, by law, ordinance, regulation, order, decree, program, or policy, the use of any language other than English; provided, however, that nothing in §1-1-696 through 1-1-698 shall prohibit a state agency or a political subdivision of the State from requiring an applicant to have certain degrees of knowledge in a foreign language as a condition of employment where appropriate.

§1-1-698. Exceptions to Prohibitions Against Use of Language Other Than English.
Sections 1-1-696 through 1-1-698 do not prohibit any law, ordinance, regulation, order, decree, program, or policy requiring educational instruction in a language other than English for the purpose of making students who use a language other than English proficient in English or making students proficient in a language in addition to English.

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