What would you recommend I do about the pronunciation guide when I can't think of any English terms that match the sound exactly? Leave out the examples that aren't quite right, change the sound to match the example? Or just use the IPA symbols with no examples?
Typically self-instruction texts will either (a) include explanations (e.g. "Like the vowel in 'tape' or 'made' only without the 'ee' sound at the end") or (b) give examples from other languages (e.g. "French été
, German Ehre
"). More scholarly works will simply give the IPA (with or without explanations for non-cardinal vowels). As you've discovered, these days it's not difficult to find good resources if you want to learn how to pronounce these symbols.