Investigation of Chinese academics' language attitudes towards English language norms in UK universities
English is now used as a global lingua franca as a result of the internationalisation of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the UK. Given that people’s views on a person, such as his/er supposed capabilities, beliefs and attributes, are influenced by the language features this person adopts (Cargile, et. al., 1994), a body of Global Englishes (GE) literature has endeavoured to understand English language learners’/teachers’ and language practitioners’ language attitudes and experiences to enhance the teaching/learning or working outcomes. However, UK universities are criticised for neglecting the diverse linguistic landscape and multilingual repertoire of their international academics and students (Bonacina-Pugh, Borakos & Chen, 2020; Jenkins, 2014). Likewise, there is a lack of scholarly attention on the voices of international staff in this under-presented context of HEIs in an English-dominant (ED) country, where the ‘default’ standard English setting is tacitly approved. Drawing on language attitude theories, this study sets out at the intersection of the internationalisation of HE, GE, and language attitude, with a close-up look at a particular international staff group, namely Chinese academics. The study aims to explore Chinese academics’ language attitudes towards English language norms as well as the associative factors and possible impact of these language attitudes in UK universities. To investigate this issue, Chinese academics who work in the UK HEIs were recruited to obtain both quantitative and qualitative data. 134 questionnaires were collected and analysed through Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA). 14 online interviews were conducted and analysed through content analysis. The result indicates two sets of language attitude of these Chinese academics. First, a strong and dominant native-bound attitude, which was influenced by the interplay between the English education system in China and the language policy in the UK, is identified. These native-bound attitudes negatively influenced their psychological states and participation in academic activities. Second, constant positive attitudinal responses towards the diverse English use by NNESs were also noted which was influenced by their GE-related experience. This study contributes to a better understanding of international academics’ linguistic experiences through the lens of GE. It also provides useful information for international universities to have a re-think of the taken-for-granted exclusive ‘legitimacy’ of the standard/native English and how UK HEIs could offer institutional support for both domestic and non-domestic stakeholders in order to raise their awareness towards the changing linguistic landscape as well as equipping them with the knowledge and autonomy to proactively accommodate the linguistic and cultural diversity on the internationalised campuses instead of superficially helping or ‘obliging’ NNESs to abide by the NS norms.