Every now and again someone asks why pronunciation dictionaries do not show dark l explicitly. If milk is pronounced mɪɫk, why do we write it as mɪlk?
There are various kinds of answer one can give.
1. The distinction between clear and dark l is not particularly important for EFL. And anyhow there are plenty of native speakers who do not make the distinction.
2. There are no pairs of words in English distinguished by the clear-dark distinction. Writing the clearer variant as lʲ (which exaggerates its palatalization somewhat), we can say that [lʲ] and [ɫ] are allophones of the same phoneme /l/. Their distribution is conditioned by the phonetic context: in RP and similar accents, lʲ is used before a vowel or j, ɫ is used elsewhere (including before a major boundary). As with other allophonic variation, we ignore it in dictionary transcription because it is more economical to state it once rather than mention it on every occasion. The learner needs to learn the general rule rather than memorize the appropriate variant for each word. Dictionary transcription, and EFL transcription in general, is phonemic (or, if you prefer, broad).
3. Every word or stem that ends in the lateral is sometimes pronounced with ɫ, sometimes with lʲ, depending on what follows. Although the citation form of kill is kɪɫ, and killed is always kɪɫd, in killing we have ˈkɪlʲɪŋ. While kill them is ˈkɪɫ ðəm, kill it is ˈkɪlʲ ɪt. And likewise for thousands of other items.
4. Even among NSs who follow the rule given, there is some disagreement in the precise definition of ‘boundary’. Whereas mainstream RP of my generation has lʲ in phrases such as Isle of Man and Middle East, there are other NSs who use ɫ in these phrases. For stylize I say ˈstaɪlʲaɪz, just as in island ˈaɪlʲənd, but there are many others for whom the morpheme boundary triggers pre-l breaking and/or dark l, thus ˈstaɪəlʲaɪz, ˈstaɪ(ə)ɫaɪz.
Whereas my kind of speech applies the rule to syllabic l just as to non-syllabic, there are other speakers who claim to make all syllabic laterals dark. How this works out in cases of potential compression (positional loss of syllabicity), e.g. fiddling ˈfɪdl̩ɪŋ ~ ˈfɪdlɪŋ, I am not sure.
Abercrombie adduced a nice example. In I feel ill he (like me) would use a clear l at the end of feel: aɪ fiːlʲ ˈɪɫ. But in I may not look ill, but I do feel ill it switches to dark: aɪ ˈmeɪ nɒt ˈlʊk ɪɫ | bət aɪ ˈduː ˈfiːɫ ɪɫ. I'd do just the same in not the Far East, but the Midd[ɫ̩] East. Why?