Mary E. Beckman is a Professor of Linguistics at the Ohio State University. She edited the Journal of Phonetics from 1990 to 1994. Perhaps her most significant contribution to linguistics is the fact that in 1987, together with John Kingston, she organized the first Laboratory Phonology conference at Columbus, Ohio, and served with Kingston as series editor for the Cambridge University Press series Papers in Laboratory Phonology from 1987 through 2004. The laboratory phonology movement was one of the two most important developments during the 1990s in the linguistic subdisciplines that study language sound systems, and gave rise to the Association for Laboratory Phonology. The other important development was Optimality Theory.
Beckman received her PhD from Cornell University in 1984, was a Postdoctoral member of the technical staff in "Linguistics and Artificial Intelligence Research" at AT&T Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, NJ, and joined the faculty at Ohio State in 1985. In 1988 she won a Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation. She has directed twenty-five PhD dissertations to completion at Ohio State. Her early research focused on prosody and the development of the Tones and Boundary Indexes (ToBI) system of intonation transcription. More recently her work has focused on phonological disorders and child language acquisition.
- Beckman, Mary E. (1986). Stress and Non-Stress Accent. Netherlands Phonetic Archives Series. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-11-013729-3.
- Pierrehumbert, Janet B.; Mary E. Beckman (1988). Japanese Tone Structure. MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-16109-1.
- Kingston, John; Mary E. Beckman (eds.) (1990). Papers in Laboratory Phonology I: Between the Grammar and Physics of Speech. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-36238-2.