I believe when /æ/ comes before m or n , it’s pronounced [ɛə] instead of [æ], (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki//%C3%A6/_raising) but is it always the case?For example, how about the main stress is not on /æ/, like the word “Transportation” (ˌtrænspərˈteɪʃən). In this case, "eɪ" has the main stress and /æ/ has the second one. Do you still pronounce /æ/ as [ɛə]?

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    I think [æ] is raised because of nasalisation. – Decapitated Soul Nov 19 '20 at 10:24

I've never encountered or read of an accent where this allophonic vowel shift only applies in the syllable with primary stress. I'm an American English speaker with what that article calls the "nasal system" of allophonic æ-tensing (raising), and I perceive transportation to have the same vowel sound in its first syllable as hands or trance. The vowel sound in bat never appears before /m/, /n/ or /ŋ/ for me.

In general, I can't think of a vowel sound that is pronounced significantly differently based on whether it is in a syllable with primary stress or non-primary stress. Vowels in syllables with no stress at all are frequently reduced in quality—often to schwa—but vowels with secondary (or tertiary) stress are (almost by definition) not reduced that way. When /æ/ is reduced, the result is usually schwa, as in the final syllable of appliance.


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