Human development theories have influenced diverse areas of instruction, including second language teaching and learning. Acknowledging the importance of the bidirectional influences between theory and practice, the present paper grounds second language learning within the theories of Vygotsky and Bakhtin as they pertain to linguistic development. Both Vygotsky and Bakhtin endorsed a communication-based language learning based on their social primacy view of development. In addition, both theorists emphasized the dialogical nature of language and consciousness. This worldview allowed them to expand the scope of context to include multiple participants and perspectives in creating and understanding the meaning of any linguistic construction. The role of the teacher as a human mediator is emphasized in guiding the language learning process in the second language classroom with special attention to the instruction of pragmatic competence.