Linguists have hit out at a decision that means French will receive proportionally less money from the funding council than any other modern language.
Funding chiefs announced this week that institutions teaching German and Spanish will get a cash boost in the funding allocations announced next month. Half as much money again will go to these subjects.
French will not receive any extra cash. The subject is now the only modern language not to be funded as having a studio, laboratory or fieldwork element.
Michael Worton, vice-provost of University College London and Fielden professor of French language and literature, said: "There is no evidence that German is more expensive to teach than French. We shall be querying this decision."
Michael Moriarty, head of French at Queen Mary and Westfield College, London, said: "I find it a very puzzling decision. Most languages are taught in the same way. French departments make as much use of language laboratories and computer-assisted learning as other languages. I am at a loss to explain why the funding council has not done the same for French as it has for other languages."
A spokesman for the Higher Education Funding Council for England said: "We were asked by the modern languages council to review German and Spanish a year early. French will be reviewed next year, and a decision will be taken then on whether it should move up a funding band."
The spokesman added that French receives proportionally less money because "it is the standard modern language taught in schools".