One of the papers that caught my eye at the just-complete LSA meeting in Baltimore was Abby Kaplan, "Articulatory reduction in intoxicated speech". Here's the abstract:
Voiceless stops are commonly voiced post-nasally and intervocalically. Such alternations are often attributed to articulatory ‘effort reduction’: a hypothesis that voiced stops are ‘easier’ in these environments. My experiment tests this hypothesis by comparing productions of intoxicated subjects with those of sober subjects, assuming that intoxicated subjects produce more ‘easy’ articulations. Intoxicated subjects did not uniformly increase voicing of post-nasal or intervocalic stops; rather, the range of voicing durations contracted for both types of stops. I conclude that considerations of effort do not straightforwardly predict post-nasal and intervocalic voicing: the traditional effort-based account of these processes must be refined.
Kaplan's LSA presentation is not on line, as far as I can tell, but the same experiment is described in a handout for the Stanford Phonetics and Phonology Workshop, 11/30/2009, "Lenition as Effort Reduction? Evidence from Intoxicated Speech".
There have been dozens of research publications on intoxicated speech, but most of them have a forensic motivation. I thought that Kaplan's idea of using intoxication as a proxy for reduced effort was an interesting one,
In fact, there were two presentations on intoxicated speech at this LSA meeting, which is more than I recall having seen at one of these gatherings before. The other one was Thomas C. Purnell, "Motor control of vowel space: Effect on dialect features under intoxication":
Intoxicated speech affects motor control of speaking leading to coarticulatory, precision and timing differences from sober speech. Past research has not accounted for dialect or contemporary vowel changes, nor secondary vowel features such as nasalization and pharyngealization. Because vowels can be style shifted, i.e., they are under some conscious motor planning, this paper investigates how speakers produce vowel qualities while intoxicated and how changes in vowel space interact with what is know about the speaker’s dialect patterns. Four hypotheses were tested by comparing Rainbow passage vowels as spoken by six females recorded prior to intoxication with samples from post-peak intoxication.
Checking this topic on Google Scholar, I stumbled across a discussion from more than a century ago — in Edward Wheeler Scripture, The Elements of Experimental Phonetics, 1902 (which you can download in its entirety from Google Books):
The various hypotheses that have been put forth as explanations of phonetic changes might be directly tested by reproducing the conditions and recording the speech results. Thus the hypothesis that the changes known as Grimm's Law are the results of increasing rapidity of speech might be tested by recording language spoken at different speeds; the finer details that cannot be detected by the ear could be measured in tracings made as described in part I. […]
The experiments may be extended to unusual, abnormal or pathological conditions of the individual. Thus the progressive defects in coordination of muscular action whereby thickness of speech is caused may be carefully observed in the progress of alcoholic or etheric intoxication. The effects of rapidity can be observed at each degree of speed in the slowing increasing rapidity of speech in some cases of mania.
It is quite possible that experimental data may definitely confirm any one of the hypothetical causes assigned, but the well-known facts of mental life make it quite as possible that all these causes and others also are involved. I may add here that arrangements have already been made for making gramophone plates of speech under various conditions of excitement, emotion and fatigue so that the curves can be traced off the machine described in Chapter IV. Plans are also being developed for the systematic preparation and preservation of speech records in phonetic libraries.
It has taken a bit longer than Scripture planned for "the systematic preparation and preservation of speech records in phonetic libraries" to become a reality. But in fact, if you're interested in doing your own study of the phonetics of drunken speech, you can now start with a published "phonetic library", documented in Florian Schiel et al., "ALC — Alcohol Language Corpus", LREC2008.
Here's a bit more on Edward Wheeler Scripture, who was not previously known to me. He founded the experimental psychology laboratory at Yale University in 1892. After leaving Yale, according to a 1965 note by Edwin G. Boring in the American Journal of Psychology, he was
Associate in Psychiatry and Director of the Research Laboratory in Neurology at Columbia University, Investigator in the Carnegie Institution of Washington, Lecturer on Experimental Phonetics at the University of Marburg, Nonorary Lecturer on Phonetics at King's College, London, and finally Professor of Experimental Phonetics at the University of Vienna.
Although Scripture died in 1945, this notice did not appear until 1965, because
a failing older man, he dropped out of professional attention and his death received no professional notice, and […] the English Who's Who continued his sketch until the 1959 volume.
Boring ends his note with a comment on the ending of Scripture's 1932 Autobiography, which "is almost entirely concerned with intellectual reminiscences about people, ideas, and research":
"I notice a paucity of personal details in my account. I have forgotten most of them and am not interested in the rest; I do not think the reader would be interested either. In order to be dated and placed I have to state that I was born in 1864 in a village in New Hampshire, U.S.A."
Dated and placed! Almost, he failed to be. Perhaps that was his wish.
Edward Wheeler Scripture's other published works include The New Psychology (1897) and Stuttering and Lisping (1912), both of which are also available for full download from Google Books (classified as "Family and Relationships" and "History" respectively, but still). There are also ten volumes of Studies from the Yale Psychological Laboratory that appeared under his name — the tenth and last is here.
Scripture left the U.S. in 1913, twelve years before the LSA was founded, and as far as I know, he never attended an LSA meeting. The quaint pdf-format index to Language has no entry for him.