Your child may be engrossed with his Baby Einstein Take-Along Tunes or trying to escape from the grocery cart. But he’s listening, processing and willing to teach us.

In a recent study of 19-month-olds, University of Chicago doctoral student Lauren Howard found that children who heard multiple languages in their neighborhoods were more receptive to people who spoke languages other than their parents’ language.

“We measured imitation. At this age, that’s how they show us their willingness to learn,” explained Howard, the lead author of the report titled Neighborhood Linguistic Diversity Predicts Infants’ Social Learning. The experiments tested how well the infants could learn new tasks from a non-English speaker.