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The curse and the blessing of mobile phones – a corpus-based study into Polish and American rhetoric strategies Agnieszka Leńko-Szymańska Department of English Language University of Łódźlenko@krysia.uni.lodz.plThe study applies the content-analysis methodology to identify the differences in the rhetoric strategies applied by Polish and American apprentice writers in their argumentative essays. As part of the project aiming at the compilation a Polish corpus of learner English, the data was collected from 79 Polish first-year students of English at the Institute of English Studies, University of Łódź, and their 80 American counterparts, freshman non-English majors at South West University in Marshall, Minnesota. Both groups of students were asked towrite an essay in almost identical conditions and on the same topic: “The mobile phone – the curse or the blessing of the end of the 20th century”. Since the Polish and the American essays differed greatly in their treatment of the topic, the decision was made to pursue this observation in a more rigorous way.The simplest method was chosen to analyse the differences between the two groups of essays: the comparison of wordlists also known as the key-word analysis. According to Scott (2000) key words are a good indicator of the ‘aboutness’ of a text, thus the procedure seemed the appropriate first step to pinpoint the discrepancies between the samples. A list of 321 key words was produced in Wmatrix (the corpus-analysis environment developed atLancaster University). The items were further sorted into those overused by the American students (145 words and...