The following is a guest post reprinted with permission from How to Say.
Improve Your English Pronunciation
Let us be honest with ourselves. Reading about pronunciation is not going to take you anywhere. You have to speak English to master the pronunciations, and it doesn't matter if you go wrong. You fall down; you learn to get up.
Every English speaking country has its own form of English. There is the American English, British English, Australian English, etc. And then we have our own Indian English. Pronunciations are different in each country's English. Learning them all would be inane. Start with clarifying and neutralizing your own regional English accent and then move on to learning the accents and slang of other countries.
Learn the phonetics
There are phonetic symbols which indicate whether a word should be pronounced as "cat" or as "cut." These symbols are often found in dictionary. It is advisable to have a dictionary by your side all the time for quick meaning and pronunciation references.
Watch movies, and listen to songs and radio
The best way to improve pronunciation is not through reading grammar books, but by watching native English programs and movies with subtitles, and listening to English songs with the lyrics in front of you. Listening to the radio is another excellent way. You have less distraction visually and your entire concentration is on what is being said.
Words that can be split into two or more syllables will have distinct stress. The shift in stress changes the pronunciations and in some cases their meaning. Stress markings can be referred to in a good dictionary.
If you have to communicate in English with another person and you are not sure about your pronunciation, it doesn't matter. Just give them a background of what you are going to talk about so that they can tune in.
For example, it will be a good idea to ask, "Can you help me? I need directions to this address," rather than jumping directly to the address.
Write down the words that trouble you often. There are plenty of websites where you can listen to pronunciations.
Just a word to conclude: "Practice makes perfect." Speak good English taking cues from the above-mentioned tips, and make your way up the ladder of mastering English.