Kreyòl was predominantly an oral tradition long before there were any official recognition of the language as a whole, or a common writing system. This shows through in the orthography of the language, from the presentation of the alphabet to the more-or-less literal representation of sounds by their letters. Kreyòl is a fairly new language, and that along with its strong tendency to be "written as it sounds", leads to a fairly fluid language: ie, the spelling of words can be suggestive of the authors accent and may not lead to a match in a dictionary for what is really a common word.
Kreyol uses a set of latin characters to write its letters. It is important to note that the graphemes are not the alphabet of the language: there is a large number of digraphs and some of the graphemes only occur in digraphs (for example, h is never capitalized, as it only occurs in the letter Ch).
The grave accent is not really a diacritic, as it differentiates completely different vowels (e and è, for example). It is included for completeness.
The acute accent --probably denotes syllabic stress.
The diaeresis (trema)
The circumflex is used to show a long vowel.
Apostrophes are used between a verb and a pronoun in its short form (as a direct object): l'ale, l'gen (he/she has), but not after l in yo wè l (they saw him/her).
Hyphens are used to avoid ambiguity with nouns seperated from their determiners. bagay-la (the thing), is fine but unnecessary, while poul-nan kakaye (the hen is crowing) is better than poul nan kakaye (the hens in the process of crowing).
Each letter in the alphabet tends to have a one-to-one corrospondence with its sound. Like some other langauges (eg, Hindi), the alphabet is not presented as a single line of symbols for memorization, but rather it is divided analyitcally into consonants, vowels, semivowels (vowel-consonants), and nasal vowels.
- despite the fact that /un/ combines two sounds, it is counted as a single letter. There is some support for considering oun as a nasal U (close back rounded vowel) sound, /ũ/, but this appears to be a minority view.