Due to the difficulty in hearing the British pronunciation, I joined the free pronunciation class offered by University Language Centre.
I don't know how other country people learn the English pronunciation, but in Malaysia, we never learn the phonetic symbol. We learnt the English pronunciation simply by following what teacher pronounced when we were small. When we grew up, we naturally developed an "ability" to pronounce the new word that we didn't know by reference to another word with similar spelling or pronunciation by someone who we first hear. Therefore, it is not surprising that for some words we pronounce it in a wrong way.
Well, it is hard to judge who is wrong or who is right nowadays as the English speaker are not only British and US (though the pronunciation of these two countries somehow different to each other), there are also a large population in India, China, Southeast Asia and some other countries who speak English as well. The pronunciation is deemed to be correct as long as the majority pronounce the same way.
And I am in Manchester now. The Mancunian (what Manchester people call themselves) pronunciation is thus the correct way. When people tell you "boss", you should know that he is referring to a "bus". When your friend says "see you lat-er (pronounce separately)", you should understand he means see you later. When the kid say I want to eat "tomat-o", you should give him a tomato.
As the teacher said, I am not asking you to learn all this, but you need to be aware that people here pronounce that way and it is better to train your ear from now. She showed us the phonetic symbol, as well as several features in the "natural pronunciation" like the sounds, stress and weak form, intonation and connected speech.
Felt like went back to the primary school, we read the phonetic symbols one after another by following the teacher pronunciation. And I did realized that I mis-pronounce (at least in UK term) several words since small.
Don't know how much my pronunciation will change by the classes. Hopefully after returning to my home country in future, my friends will not say that, "Hey, I find your English is difficult to understand..."