This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book deals with a group of languages which linguists call pidgins and Creoles, and some of the issues arising from their study. It discusses the notion of a linguistic life cycle and links the development of pidgins and Creoles. The book attempts to define and type pidgin and Creole languages in terms of shared features and shows that there is a great deal of overlap between the two. It presents theories of origin and illustrates the dynamic nature of developments which characterize the pidgin-creole life cycle. H. Schuchardt is more generally known for his contributions to Romance philology and Basque studies, but within the field of pidgin and Creole studies he is known for a series of papers entitled Kreolische Studien published in the 1880s.