Spanish walk

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10 comments on this post.
  1. Alex:

    Have you considered the possibility that it is the other way around and that the stiff legged gait of prisoners made to “walk Spanish” inspired the name for the style of dressage?

  2. h.s. gudnason:

    @Alex I think that the term in dressage is part and parcel of the elaborate court ceremonies that started in Burgundy in the fifteeenth century and passed from there to Spain, the Spanish Netherlands, and the Habsburg court in Vienna. The Spanish Riding School in Vienna dates back to the sixteenth century.

  3. Topi Linkala:

    Sorry to inform you Mr. Evans, but as much I like Tom Waits, the more I like Van Morrison.

  4. Big DD:

    Cool song and groove. Obscure lyrics. Jeff Bridges played an ex-con in American Heart, ca. early 90s. In one scene, he heatedly tells his son how his parole officer is making him walk Spanish. After that I assumed it was just prison slang for staying straight.

  5. Sparrow:

    It is said that walking Spanish was what pirates called walking the plank i.e. walking unwillingly towards something. In that case – death. Interesting theory about walking with straight legs. Would I be correct in thinking that condemned people would probably be wearing shackles (in America, chains linking hands and feet) so would be forced to shuffle with a straight legged gait? Great song – one of my favorite songs by my favourite singer.

  6. B.Rokas:

    Eighteenth British navy slang for deserting .

  7. mike:

    20th century con slang for not going completely strait after being released from prison, i.e., still doing jobs.

  8. Marty:

    In the Joshua Ferris novel Then We Came to the End, an account of an ad agency in free fall during the bubble burst of the early 2000s, the term walking Spanish denotes the final act of those personnel who have been given the axe. Their exit from the agency, carrying personal effects in a carton down a long hallway, is referred by the survivors as walking Spanish and likened to the stiff-legged walk of a pirate’s victim being prodded down the gangplank at the end of a cutlass.

  9. Duncan Bush:

    Actually, Joshua Ferris’s novel refers explicitly to the walk Spanish pirates made their prisoners undergo, holding them by the scruff of the neck so their toes barely touched the deck. Clearly a phrase from the great days of the British navy. . .

  10. Pablo:

    As a spaniard I find this derogative use of the term spanish quite amusing – OK, it’s also a bit offensive, but all languages have some unfortunate legacy expressions from a different time.
    I find “spanish castles” to be particularly ironical, since spain is littered with old castles from the time of the “reconquista” (the war to drive the muslims away from Iberia after their invasion in 711, until their last stronghold in Granada was retaken in 1492).
    In fact the name of the biggest of the kingdoms that made up Spain and which gave it’s name to the spanish language (usually refered to in Spain as “Castellano” to distinguish it from the other regional languages spoken in Spain) is Castilla (from the word Castillo, meaning castle)

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