For sure, one of the essential tips on improving English pronunciation is listening (from movies, songs and music, podcasts). However, you can master your skills if you pay attention to what you listen to and how you work on it.
First of all, try to decide which accent you would like to have (British English or American English, or maybe you like the Australian accent the most, it’s up to you). Find a video with a whether a British or American pronunciation*. Listen to a speaker attentively, sentence by sentence. And then try to copy the speaker’s pronunciation. An additional tip to this practice would be recording yourself. Recording yourself particularly on a video would be better, as it is important to see how you speak, not only hear it.
Another useful tip is reading out loud (you can also do it in front of the mirror). Find an interesting but partially difficult text (with the complex sentences and unusual words’ spellings) and read it out loud. Pay attention to your pronunciation: if you choose British English, stick to this accent, if American … you’ve got the point!
Correct articulation of the words is another important issue. Because if you articulate the words properly, that will prevent you from misunderstandings and awkward pauses in your speech. It will give your words more weight and make your interlocutor understand the information you transmit easily.
Your tongue helps you in the articulation of the words. When you speak, you move your tongue to make sounds. To improve your English pronunciation, it’s a good idea to check what your tongue is doing. Some difficult sounds for non-native speakers to make are the letters “L” and “R,” and the sound “TH.” Pronouncing them correctly is all in the tongue.
For example, to make the “L” sound, your tongue should touch the back of your front teeth and the top of your mouth, just behind your teeth. Try to say the word “love.” To make the “R” sound, your tongue should not touch the top of your mouth. Pull your tongue back to the middle of your mouth, near where it naturally rests if you weren’t saying anything. Also, your lips should be a little rounded. Now try to say the word “regard” a few times. For the “TH” sound, you need to put your tongue between your top and bottom teeth. Your tongue should stick out a little between your teeth, let some air escape between your tongue and teeth. Now practice – say the word “think”.
Also, when it comes to practice, make sure you know what IPA means. Haven’t heard of it? IPA stands for the International Phonetic Alphabet, which is like a basement of the correct pronunciation. IPA is an alphabetic system of phonetic notation based on mostly Latin alphabet. In other words, when you see the word for the first time and you don’t know how to pronounce it you look at the transcription. And the transcription, in turn, consists of this alphabetic system. So if you don’t know the symbols of IPA and their correct pronunciation, how can you improve your pronunciation skills? Here is an extremely useful video related to this topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4NVPg2kHv4
And the last but not the least, don’t forget practising your pronunciation skills every day. Reed more English books, watch more movies in English (not translated ones), listen to music in English because your English pronunciation can be improved only by your efforts. And make it fun, not a struggle!
*P.S.: If you prefer British English, here is a great video of advanced British pronunciation to practice:
For American English, check this one out: