Among scholars of bilingualism, a continuing debate concerns whether bilinguals limit their search of vocabulary to their target language or instead bring both of their languages actively into the search process. Erin Wilkinson revisits this question as it relates to deaf bilinguals, describing a series of recent studies involving children and adults who rely on ASL for daily communication, but who are also fluent readers of written English.
Erin Wilkinson studies linguistic structures across signed languages. Her main areas of interest include a collection of subfields framed by the cognitive-functionalist approach. These include such topics such as language typology, usage-based grammar, and corpus linguistics of signed languages. Most recently, she explored the kinship terminologies of forty signed languages as part of her research to better understand typological variation in visual-gestural languages.