Guwahati, Aug 5: If you are new to Assam and have no idea of its language and vocabulary, just log on to www.xobdo.net, type the English word, and the corresponding Assamese word will pop up within a fraction of a second, along with its phonetics in English to help you pronounce the word.
Welcome to the world of ''Xobdo'', the world's first and only English-Assamese Online Dictionary, promoted by a group of young enthusiasts, spreading across five continents with an open source platform.
''Xobdo (www.xobdo.net) is your dictionary. You can add words, challenge them and thus decide its destiny. Just initiate a discussion or post your viewpoint on any of the active discussions about the correctness of the spellings and their meanings.
''At the end of the discussion, your viewpoint will be taken into consideration to update the dictionary entries,'' said Bulajit Buragohain, an Energy researcher of IIT, Guwahati, doubling up as the publicity secretary of the Xobdo.
The basic vision is to demolish the manmade language barrier and thereby facilitate mutual understanding and cooperation among the people of the entire North-East India as well as bring the North-East languages - Khasi, Dimasa, Bodo, Karbi, Nagamese, Garo, Ao, Mizo (Lushai), Mishing, Tanii (Apatani), Monpa, Tai, Meitei-lon, Bishnupriya, Chakma, Kok-Borok, Kuki - to the forefront of the Information Technology age.
Xobdo is the brainchild of Bikram M Baruah, a petroleum engineer, now based in Abu Dhabi.
''There are 25 active volunteers and eight members have contributed more than 500 words. As on today, the dictionary has around 16,600 words while an average Assamese dictionary has around 50,000 words. Going by that standard and increasing the number of volunteers, the dictionary is expected to be completed by 2011,'' Mr Buragohain informed.
Significantly, Xobdo does not seek to follow any specific dictionary or any glossary or word-list published by any authority or entity, neither does it accept the opinions of experts.
Rather, it considers the present-day meaning to be the standard as it is evinced in 'contemporary use'.
In case of any doubt, volunteers opt for a discussion in which the words and their meanings are agreed on. Some of Xobdo's volunteers, significantly, come with sound background in linguistics studies.
Mr Buragohain revealed that anybody could become a member and contribute words to the online dictionary.
''One can also challenge the spellings or meanings featured in the dictionary. Through discussions with other members of Xobdo, a consensus decision has to be taken within a reasonable time frame and the entry has to be updated accordingly,'' he added.
Besides, videos and audios are being added to the portal, making it akin to ''Wikipedia'' and ''You Tube'', and emerging as fountain head for Assam in the world wide web.