THE Tour de France may be celebrating all things Yorkshire this year - but not necessarily the way true Tykes speak.

For the thousands of volunteers recruited to help make the event a success have been told to avoid traditional northern greetings like “love”.

Organisers of July’s Grand Depart in Yorkshire insist the last thing they want to do is tone down the region’s identity or dialect.

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But an on-line training video for the volunteers advises people to be confident and naturally friendly but adds: “Avoid using words such as ‘mate’, ‘love’ or ‘darling’ – they may sound friendly to you, but they could offend some people.”

The Northern Echo: Norah Batty (Kathy Staff) with the Last of the Summer Wine crew

And that has proved enough to offend some Yorkshire folk who say such terms are traditional local words of endearment.

Welcome to Yorkshire, the tourism agency which brought the opening stages of the event to the county, said it wanted to do everything it could to promote Yorkshire's identity.

But its spokesman said: ''The Grand Depart of the Tour de France will celebrate everything Yorkshire, including our dialect, but we want to be careful not to cause confusion for our overseas visitors.''

Among those up in arms is diehard Yorkshireman Sir Michael Parkinson who was typically forthright in his response.

The Northern Echo: Peter Kay and Michael Parkinson

Sir Michael Parkinson

“I have never heard of anything as daft in my life,” he was reported as saying.

“They are trying to ban a word that is a classic term of endearment in the north and everyone know it. Absolutely unbelieveable.”

“Daft” was also the word used by cricket’s Dickie Bird, umpiring legend and Yorkshireman through and through, who added: “There’s a lot worse problems to worry about than people going around calling each other ‘love’.

“It’s what make us people in Yorkshire special. We are known throughout the world for that expression because it shows how friendly we are.

“It could never be mistaken for an insult. I have never had any problem with it and I have used it all over the globe.”

The colourful world of Yorkshire-speak:

  • Put wood in t ‘ole. Translation: Would you close the door please.
  • Fair t’ middlin’. Translation: I am fine, thank you.
  • More brass na brains. Translation: More money than sense.
  • Ah’ll go t’ foot of our stairs. Translation: I am amazed.
  • Ah’m reet flummoxed. Translation: I am a little confused.