Awkward verbs: to rota

A while back I blogged about how 'pro rata' makes an awkward verb as there seems to be no consensus on how the past participle should be written.

I've just thought of another, similar-sounding verb that poses the same problem: 'rota'. Although the Concise OED lists 'rota' as a noun only ("Chiefly Brit. A list showing times and names for people to take their turn to undertake certain duties"), I have heard it used as a verb to mean something along the lines of 'to put into a rota'.

And no, I'm not imagining it: after quite some searching I managed to find a Personnel Today question-and-answer page in which a respondent ('BKay') writes:

Because we work a 7 day week if anyone is rotad to work a b/hol they get the day back in lieu


This writer has chosen 'rotad' as the past participle of 'rota' but I can see arguments for 'rotaed' or even 'rota'd'. What do you reckon?

And are there any other English verbs out there (apart from 'pro rata' and 'rota') whose spelling ends in a consonant and then the letter 'a'?

6 comments:

Icedink said...

Rota'd is the least worst because the word looks the way it sounds. Rotaed looks like it should be in a Latin dictionary. Rotad just awful.

How about: "Because we work a 7-day week, anyone on the rota to work a b/hol gets the day back in lieu." Still slightly awkward because of starting with "because", but not so jarring.

Jon Boy said...

I couldn't think of any myself, and I don't see any on this list. There are plenty of verbs that end in a vowel sound, but these typically have a glide letter before the past suffix. but it seems that the only vowel letter that we allow before the -ed is i.

Chris Frumplington said...

'Rostered' would have been a much better choice than 'rotad' in that advert. Why make up a new word when a perfectly adequate one exists?

JD said...

Icedink, you suggest rewriting the sentence, and Chris, you suggest using a different word. Both fine suggestions, and being a pragmatic sort of sub I would do one or the other if one of the writers on the magazine I work for used 'rota' as a verb in copy.

But people do use 'rota' as a verb. Seems strange to avoid a word in writing just because of the way it looks (rather than any issue with usage, meaning etc).

Virtual Linguist said...

My 2001 copy of New Oxford Dictionary of English has the -a'd past tense form as an alternative to -aed for the verbs cha-cha, concertina, conga, polka, rumba, samba, subpoena and viva. For some reason it doesn't give the alternative with the apostrophe for the verbs baa, henna and sol-fa.

Gloom Raider said...

I seem to recall a John Mortimer book that had this as "rota'd," which may be the only time I've encountered it.