What is the phonological process whereby a speaker would use [ʊ] as a replacement for [l]?
Some examples off the top of my head; [lɪtl] -> [lɪtʊ], [gɪgl] -> [gɪgʊ], [twɪŋkl] -> [twɪŋkʊ]
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I say this a lot. Like Hippietrail said, it's a progression from the dark l. I can say as [wɫ̩] when it's used as a discourse particle. My dialect tends to turn a syllable final velarized [ɫ] into [w]. As a result, I VERY often say [wː] instead of [wɛɫ]. I can record it if you like.
That aside, the way it progresses from a dark l to a [w] or a [ʊ], depending on your perspective (is it a syllabic consonant, or a vowel? lol) is because the mouth shape for [ɫ] is almost exactly the same for [w] except the apex of the tongue is touching the alveolar ridge. As soon as the tip lets go, it sounds like [w] and not [ɫ].
In case you don't know, [ɫ] is an /l/ with the back of the tongue velarized. That is, it's nearing the velum (where you produce /k/ and /g/).
As for the name of this phonological process? I haven't the faintest idea. De-alveolarisation, maybe? Haha, maybe not.
It's basically a type of debuccalization. Although the standard examples of debuccalization are things like s > h and t > ʔ, this is the same kind of process, since the loss of alveolar closure turns syllabic [ɫ] into a kind of laterally colored high back vowel.