Children at this age have usually developed some shyness and a few new fears around certain things. If you consistently show him that there's nothing to be afraid of, he will lose this fear - remember, he learns everything from you, but be gentle with encouraging him to confront these fears.
He is probably standing well now, and walking quite independently with the occasional wobble or three, and will find mischief to get involved in. A playpen is a great investment at this age - he will have his independence to do as he likes, but also the safety of solid boundaries around him.
Language will be coming on, and simple words should be coming now and then. He will now know the names of many objects, such as animals, food, toys, etcetera, and can "fetch" them or point at them when you say their names for him.