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I remember my teacher saying something about when we can ellide the schwa and something about syllabic nasals ("often more" as an example of a case where we cannot do regressive nasal assimilation due to syllabic nasals in the words. I don't know what syllabic nasals are exactly) Any ideas?

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    This is confusing. Are you talking about English specifically? And by "regressive nasal assimilation" are you specifically referring to the use of nasal vowels in English before nasal consonants? There are other kinds of regressive nasal assimilation in other languages. May 20 '17 at 20:24
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    Syllabic nasals are nasals that can be prolonged, so long as your breath holds out. In this, they are like vowels, except that no air emerges from your mouth -- only through your nose. "Often" is often pronounced with no vowel in the second syllable -- just a syllabic nasal n, In your example, if there is regressive assimilation of place of the "en" part of "often more", since the "m" is bilabial, the syllabic "n" of "often" will also become bilabial, so it sounds like the "um" of "ovum" (in "ovum mitts", say).
    – Greg Lee
    May 21 '17 at 15:22

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