McEldowney’s meaning for gink must be quite different from the one I am most familiar with!
The Urban Dictionary of course gives some dozen unrelated entries of varying plausibility, some of which could work in this cartoon context. (But none of which are exactly mine.) The slang section of dictionary.com is more sober, but the main American entry could work with the cartoon:
nounSlang: Sometimes Disparaging and Offensive.
a person; fellow.
Is that all there is to it? Or do you see a better fit for one of the other definitions?
Maybe this should be held until the next time we assemble an Oopsies list post. But even if the wording owes something to bad translation or the author not being a native speaker of English, it’s still hard to guess how anything even somewhat plausibly translatable this way could fuel a story or joke to go with the drawing. Hey, is that even un patito at all?
The rollover text (for those who insist it’s an integral part of each XKCD cartoon) was “3D graphs that don’t contact the plane in the closure area may proceed as scheduled, but be alert for possible collisions with 2D graph lines that reach the hole and unexpectedly enter the 3D space.”
Is the therapist playing off an ambiguity to humorously chide the client for being late … again?
I remember running into a well-meaning person who heard the linguistics lecturer use the term “natural language” and tried to object that no language or dialect is actually more natural — that is, “better” in some way, or more suited to learning — than any other. Which is something that audience would not disagree with, in general, among the set of languages they were discussing. (Which of course, were just those natural languages.)
But of course there are several ways some communication system or notation system can be called a language but is not a natural language. Roy’s list includes two major types, and misses a couple other categories. (But we don’t get to hear if he has command of other natural languages.)
Here’s an amusing talk I ran across recently, which may be fun for those with either practical programming experience in a few different computer languages or anyhow a reading/browsing acquaintance with them.