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Valentine Message

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valentine messageValentine Message is a lesson that provides you with the opportunity to discover the origins of Valentine’s Day as well as how people celebrate this tradition. This lesson is centred around the theme of Customs and Traditions from the B2 First curriculum which explores how we celebrate our cultural identity across the globe.  In this lesson, we will learn the history of Valentine’s Day and how the popular candy, sweethearts are being used for research.

Exercise 1Exercise 2Exercise 3CrosswordWord ListExtension
2000 years ago, the most powerful army in the world belonged to the Romans. Soldiers wanted to get married and set up families. Watch the video about the first Valentine Message in history. What names do they mention in the video?

Click here to view transcript and answers

1. Claudius
2. Valentine/Valentinus
3. Asturias


Salva, I’m Valentinus a Christian priest in ancient Rome and it’s my fault that you have to waste money on roses and expensive restaurant on February 14th. Let me explain. The late 3rd century AD isn’t an easy time to be a Christian if you’re not having your head lopped off you’ve probably been fed to the lions.

The guy in charge of all this is the Emperor Claudius the second. He even doesn’t want to see young people getting married. He’s what we Romans call a ‘bigger dickeff’. According to him, unmarried soldiers are better at fighting than married ones as they are less likely to risk their lives to win a battle and they’ll be lovestruck rather killing maiming. It’s clearly all nonsense.

So I started performing marriage ceremonies in secret. Unfortunately, I got caught doing it. I was imprisoned and tortured. One of the judges responsible for banging me up a guy called Asturias challenged me to prove my God was real by curing his daughter of her blindness. So I prayed with the girl and hey presto she got her sight back. Beat that David Blaine! Asturias was so impressed that he converted to Christianity to. Result! And he freed me. Double result! But when I went back to conducting marriages against the law I was again seized and sentenced to death. But before the execution, I wrote a letter to Asturias’s daughter and signed it from your Valentine. Single-handedly starting the greetings card industry. I was condemned to execution in three parts beating, stoning and decapitation. But I eventually became a saint. so all’s well that ends well I guess.

So as you’re gazing adoringly into your loved one’s eyes tonight. Just think of a dismembered corpse that was responsible for the whole thing.

Listen to conversation about Candy Love Hearts which have Valentine Messages that you can give to someone you like.

1. Janelle Shane is a research scientist working with neural networks.

2. Janelle Shane used 460 Candy Heart Sweets in her research.

3. Janelle Shane has run algorithms with other lists.

4. Janelle Shane explains that her experiment finds out what is good about using neural networks.

5. Janelle Shane is going to use the Valentine messages this year and post to her friends.


Click here to view transcript


A: These are just some of messages that you would find on a box of candy hearts. You know the kind you get on Valentines’ Day.

B: What if you got messages like this.


A: Those sweet nothing come from Janelle Shane from her computer at least.

B: She’s a research scientist who works with neural networks.These are computer programs that learn by example.

A: Like facial recognition software or language translators.

B: So just for fun Janelle Shane feed her program a data set with three hundred and sixty actual candy heart messages. You know, “HOT STUFF”, “BE MINE” etc.

A: And the program generated its own candy a whole bunch more.

B: Prolific yes! Heart-warming maybe.

“LOVE BUN,” “CUTE KISS” and “YOU ARE BABE.” Some of those have potential, but others were downright strange, like “BEAR WIG,” “STANK LOVE,” “YOU ARE BAG,” “SWEAT POO” and simply “FANG.”

B: It’s not just candy hearts. Janella Shane has run algorithms on other lists too, like guinea pigs names.

A: “POP CHOP”, “FUZZABLE DEATH SNIFFS”. Death sniffs the guinea pig.

B: My guinea pigs will not be named that anytime soon. She also tried paint swatch colours.

C: So it came up with a paint colour named “SHINKY BEAN”. So it wasn’t any good at that either.

B: Shane says that there was actually a point asking a neural network to take on all these odd tasks.

C: Part of my experiment is to poke at the edges of what they’re good at and what they’re not good at. How much do they really know about the problems they’re trying to solve?

B: As for those crazy candy messages,  well Janelle Shane says it’s too late for this year, but it could become a thing.

C: I would be tended to print some out myself for next year or nothing else and see what happens when I hand out a heart that says  ‘LOVE 2,000 HOGS, YEAH “,.

Candy Heart Messages getting computer-generated optics are no help by NPR

Try this Valentine’s Day quiz.

Here are keywords and phrases covered in the talk about Valentine Messages:

  • admirer
  • algorithms
  • arrow
  • boyfriend
  • candy hearts sweets
  • caring
  • celebrate
  • Christian priest
  • chocolate
  • cupid
  • custom
  • darling
  • feast
  • February
  • festivals
  • flowers
  • gifts
  • girlfriend
  • hearts
  • hugs
  • kindness
  • kisses
  • love
  • lovers
  • marriage ceremonies
  • patron saint
  • pink
  • poem
  • red
  • romance
  • romantic
  • roses
  • St. Valentine
  • sweetheart
  • symbol
  • valentine message
1. You were recently given a Valentine card and present by an unknown person. Write an email to a friend about what happened. Explain what happened. Describe what happened. Say how you felt about what happened.
2. Write a magazine article about Valentine’s Day. Write about what happens around the world. Include two imaginary interviews with people who did something on this day.

Especially helpful are exercises that are focussed on a theme or topic as these provide word retention practice so you can be confident to read, write, speak and listen successfully.

Customs and Traditions explores how we celebrate our cultural identity across the globe.

Entertainment and Leisure explores how we spent our free time.

Environment and Nature explores the way humans and animals live, adapt and change on our planet.

Exploring how different societies create roles for people to develop their skills and knowledge.

Exploring how we learn and adjust to the world around us. .

Exploring how we experience the world through our life journeys

The more words you encounter and understand, the broader your day-to-day vocabulary will become. Our word games and puzzles are an excellent way to help to reinforce spellings in your mind.

We add reading and writing exercises on a regular basis. Why not bookmark our site, so you can come back to practice anywhere or at any time of the day?

For this part, you practice how to understand the details of a text, including opinions and attitudes.

For this part, you practice how to understand the structure and follow the development of a text.

For this part, you practice how to find specific information in a text or texts.

In addition, we add listening and speaking exercises in order to practise for this part of the B2 First Exam.

In this part you talk to the examiner about yourself and your life, e.g. your name, school, interests and future plans.

In this part, you talk about two photos on your own which you have to compare for about 1 minute. After you have finished, your partner will be asked a short question about your photo. When your partner has spoken about their photos for about 1 minute, you will be asked a question about their photos.

In this part you express ideas with your partner by looking at a discussion point that the examiner gives you.

This will be available soon.

In this part, you focus on general aspects of a topic with the examiner or you may involve your partner.

This will be available soon.

In this part, you will hear people talking in eight different situations.

In this part, you will hear someone being interviewed.

In this part, you will hear five people talking about different things.

In this part, you will hear an interview.

Cambridge English Examinations:

Cambridge English exams are designed for learners at all levels from the pre-intermediate level Cambridge English: Key (KET) to the very advanced level Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE). These exams give candidates proof of their ability to use English in a wide variety of contexts, relevant to work, study and leisure activities.

A2 Key | B1 Preliminary | B2 First

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