Most pidgins and Creoles are not written languages and therefore, not standardized. The few such as Tok Pisin which have been reduced to writing and undergone some degree of standardization have been used primarily by missionaries for proselytization. Many of those who tried to develop orthographies for Creoles assumed they were dealing with a version of English or another European language. As a result of these perceived similarities, writing systems based on European languages often did the Creoles a disservice in suggesting that they were inferior and amusing versions of European languages.

Often literacy in the Creole was promoted as an explicit bridge to the acquisition of literacy in the related European language. This underlined the importance of using an orthography which emphasized the similarities between the Creole and its lexifier and did not distort etymological connections.

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