This paper explores how the English language privileges and empowers certain epistemologies and ontologies in international higher education in the UK. The author discusses how the English language is used to construct assumptions and practices to legitimise particular ways of constructing knowledge. The main argument is that language provides a lead in silencing and marginalising alternative forms of coming to know within diverse cultures, thus creating feelings of disempowerment and dislocation for some learners. The paper highlights how learners from different cultures make sense of the role of language within the context of UK higher education, in terms of power, cultural politics and intellectual hegemony. It also suggests that ontological and epistemological stances are socially and culturally constructed, albeit reduced to linguistic constructions within UK university contexts.