New Hampshire State Language


Adopted on June 1, 1995.

The official language of the state of New Hampshire is English adopted June 1, 1995. In 2000, 91.7% of all state residents aged five and above- a total of 935,825- spoke only English at home. Only 8.3 percent of this state's residents speak a language other than English. The most common of these languages are French, Spanish, and German. English was adopted as New Hampshire's state language in 1995.

New Hampshire State Language : English

Three-in-Four New Hampshire Residents Support Official English

Residents of first-in-the-nation-primary state strongly in favor of legislation

June 18, 2007

According to a new poll, almost three-in-four New Hampshire residents support making English the official language of the United States, giving prospective presidential candidates a winning issue to discuss on the campaign trail. A Mason-Dixon poll of New Hampshire residents found that 73 percent support Congressional legislation to make English the official language, with 59 percent strongly supporting such an effort and only 22 percent in opposition. The poll of 625 New Hampshire registered voters was conducted June 6-8, 2007 and has a margin of error of plus or minus four percent.

"New Hampshire residents may be proud of their personal linguistic roots, but they are strongly supportive of government doing business in our unifying language of English," said Mauro E. Mujica, Chairman of the Board of U.S. English, Inc. "As presidential candidates clamor for primary voters, I urge them to remember that common language legislation is not a partisan issue, it is an American issue."

Earlier this spring, the subject of official English legislation arose in both the Democratic and Republican presidential debates held in the Granite State. While all the Republican candidates in attendance indicated their support for making English the official language, former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel was the only Democratic candidate to back common language legislation. The recent New Hampshire poll demonstrates that official English receives majority support among Democrats, Republicans and Independents, at levels of 60 percent, 82 percent and 78 percent, respectively.

Efforts to promote assimilation and language learning by conducting government business overwhelmingly in English are embodied in several bills pending in Congress. H.R. 997, the English Language Unity Act, introduced by Rep. Steve King, has 107 bi-partisan co-sponsors. In the Senate, S. 1335, the S.I. Hayakawa Official Language Act was introduced by Sen. Jim Inhofe in May. On June 6, the Senate overwhelmingly approved a similar amendment by Sen. Inhofe to the immigration bill that would have made English our national language and reduced government multilingualism. More than one-third of Democrats approved the amendment in the 64-33 vote.

To date, 30 states enacted official English legislation, including three in the last eight months. New Hampshire made English the official language of the state in 1995.

New Hampshire Law

The law designating English as the official New Hampshire state language is found in the New Hampshire Statutes, Title 1, Chapter 3, Section 3: C1thru C:4.


Section 3-C:1
3-C:1 Official State Language. -
I. The official language of the state of New Hampshire shall be English. English is designated as the language of all official public documents and records, and of all public proceedings and nonpublic sessions.
II. For the purposes of this chapter, "official public documents and records'' are all documents officially compiled, published, or recorded by the state.
III. For the purposes of this chapter, "public proceedings and nonpublic sessions'' mean those proceedings and sessions as defined in RSA 91-A, and includes the information recorded at such proceedings and sessions.

Source. 1995, 157:1, eff. July 31, 1995.

Section 3-C:2
3-C:2 Exceptions. - The provisions of this chapter shall not apply:
I. To all public proceedings between the state of New Hampshire and the province of Quebec when, in the opinion of the state administrator involved in such proceedings, it may be necessary to conduct such proceedings between Quebec and New Hampshire wholly or partially in French, and to use official public documents and records during the public proceedings, which are written wholly or partially in French.
II. To instruction in foreign language courses, or other requirements of the state university system.
III. To instruction designed to aid students with limited English in a timely transition and integration into the general education system.
IV. To the promotion of international commerce, tourism, and sporting events.
V. When deemed to interfere with needs of the justice system.
VI. When the public good, public safety, health, or emergency services require the use of other languages.
VII. When expert testimony or witnesses may require a language other than English; provided, however, that for purposes of deliberation, decision making, or recordkeeping, the official version of such testimony or commentary shall be the officially translated English-language version.

Source. 1995, 157:1, eff. July 31, 1995.

Section 3-C:3
3-C:3 Employment. - No person shall be denied employment with the state or with any political subdivision of the state based solely upon that person's lack of facility in a foreign language, except when related to bona fide job needs reflected in the exceptions listed in RSA 3-C:2.

Source. 1995, 157:1, eff. July 31, 1995.

Section 3-C:4
3-C:4 Construction. - This chapter shall not be construed in any way to infringe on the rights of citizens under the state constitution or the constitution of the United States in the use of language in activities or functions conducted in the private sector. No agency or officer of the state or of any political subdivision of the state shall place any restrictions or requirements regarding language usage for businesses operating in the private sector other than in official documents, forms, submissions, or other communications directed to governmental agencies and officers, which communications shall be in English as recognized in this chapter.

Source. 1995, 157:1, eff. July 31, 1995.

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