A relative of mine recently went on a rant regarding the pronunciation of 'jewelry' (as joo-la-ree) and 'realtor' (as ree-la-ter). It reminded me of the oft criticized pronunciation of 'nuclear' and I wondered if this represents a pattern of native speakers avoiding putting /l/ in consonant clusters mid word. Are there more example like this? Is this a pattern?
Short answer, Yes.
An interesting way of looking at this pattern might be from a perspective of Latin vs. Germanic origins.
Nuclear, Realtor, and Jewelry are all Latin borrowings through French. For modern English a more Germanic syllable structure has been imposed onto this Latin vocabulary. This has created new "proper" pronunciations for these as English words. So from New-clee-air to Nuke-lee-ur, from Re-al-tor to Reel-tor, and from Joule to Jew-el or Jule.
The effect of breaking and rejoining these syllables creates consonant clusters that are "unexpected" in English. A more "native" syllable has transitional vowels surrounding the 'l'; a word like melon can survive 3 different syllable interpretations and still sound very much the same (stress on the 1st mel-on, on the 2nd meh-lon, or unstressed mehl-lin).
Another more native usage of the 'l' is as a transition from and into a fricative. But here we still see that Latin imports may subjected to the Germanic structure. The 'alt' cluster hardening so that Altar becomes All-ter lining up more closely with Germanic compounds like All-Ready rather than softening like the French Auter.
There's another interesting transformation in the tension that 'l' creates between Latin and Germanic words. Words like Principle and Participle are consistently pronounced in a way that obviously contradicts their spelling. Again we can attribute this to the syllabic breaks, the appropriate French breaks being more like 'prin-see-plai-' and the English making a 'prin-sip-l". The creation of the break between the p and l creates a very awkward scenario in English, which is uniformly resolved by making the 'ple' ending into 'pel'.
In this case we see that the strength Latin exerted over writing was enough to overrule the German imports, Apfel becoming Apple and Stapul becoming Staple, in spite of the actual pronunciation.