One of the challenging parts of the English language extends beyond your understanding of the individual sounds and your ability to pronounce them properly. I mentioned the differences between English, a stress-timed language, compared with syllable-timed languages and the perception of cautiousness and foreignness when enunciating every syllable equally.
By knowing which words can be said quickly and which words are important to stress, you can better understand the English rhythm and place the emphasis where it matters.
Important words to give proper stress include: verbs, nouns, adjectives and adverbs.
Less important words that are typically said faster or with less emphasis include: articles (e.g. a, the), prepositions (e.g. in, near, beside), conjunctions (e.g. and, if, but), pronouns (e.g. he, she, they), auxiliary verbs (e.g. have, will, do, may, could) and the first word of infinitives (e.g. to look).
Take a look at the cheat sheet included below. Important words are upper case and non-important words are lower case. Once you've practiced this, look at a newspaper article or online journal article and pick out the important words and non-important words to find the English rhythm.
If you have any questions or comments, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org