When learning to communicate efficiently through language, children rely on a set of developing cognitive abilities which are often described as part of our pragmatic competence. These include the abilities to engage in joint attention, to draw inferences, to attribute mental states and to integrate contextual information from a variety of sources. The last couple of decades have seen an increasing interest in the development of such pragmatic abilities, due to the recognition of their foundational role for language acquisition more generally (Baldwin, 1993; P. Bloom, 2000; E. V. Clark, 2016; Ifantidou & Matsui, 2013; Matthews, 2014; Tomasello, 2003, 2008; Zufferey, 2015). This chapter presents an introduction to some key topics in research on the development of pragmatic abilities and their role in language acquisition. These include pre-verbal communication, pragmatic aspects of word learning, reference and non-literal uses of language, focusing on implicature and figurative language.