When my son Joshua was 8 months old, I was ecstatic to hear him say "huhh" as I cuddled him in my arms. I always said "hug" when we embraced, so I marked the sound as his first word in his baby book. Yet it wasn't until he was 1 that Joshua began to understand that he was supposed to give me a hug when I said "hug."
At around 1, most children begin to sift through words they have heard, attach meaning to familiar ones, and attempt to use them. And according to experts, talking with your toddler as much as possible is key to fostering and accelerating his language development.