Your baby is just beginning to understand many simple words and phrases, so it's more important than ever to keep talking to him. Give your chatterbox a head start on good speech patterns by repeating his words back to him using adult language. If he asks for a "bah-bah," for example, gently reinforce the correct pronunciation by asking, "Do you want a bottle?" At this stage of the game, it's best to try to avoid the tendency to use baby talk — it's fun, but hearing the right words is better for your baby's development.
Though it may sometimes feel silly, having conversations with your baby is a great way to encourage his language skills. When he rattles off a sentence of gibberish, respond with "Oh, really? How interesting." He'll probably smile and keep chattering away.
Soon you may notice some words or gestures you actually understand, as well as other forms of communication, such as pointing and grunting. It's important to name the objects he points at or point out objects of your own to help him learn the names of things.
You can also sing nursery rhymes, demonstrate actions that go with words (saying "bye-bye" and waving, for instance), and play games, such as ring-around-the-rosy, so he learns to identify key words and phrases.
He'll soon start to make the connections. Before long, he'll be clapping his hands together when you do and may begin to say "mama" when he's looking at Mom and "dada" when Dad comes into the room (though at this point he's still more likely to use the two words indiscriminately).