The common occurrence of metonymy in everyday language is considered as a negative bias towards successfully learning to state the correct referent when learning to program. Reported errors from previous studies are surveyed and the analysis reveals a pattern consistent with the use of metonymy, a rhetorical device where the speaker states a referent that is structurally related to the intended referent. This analysis suggests an underlying cause for a class of programming errors and provides directions for further research and instructional interventions.
Miller, Craig. (2012) Metonymy and Student Programming Errors.