The English phrase "quick study" is not limited to linguistic prowess, but it certainly applies.
One who is able to memorize something easily and quickly,
or is able to understand and deal with something easily and
"Janice is such a quick study that we can call her to solve any problem in the company."
Sponge is a recent colloquial synonym, and is listed as a synonym for "quick study". Although that definition is not listed in any of the dictionaries I currently use, I have used the term in that fashion myself:
Joey is a sponge for baseball statistics; you'll be hard pressed to
It would be more recognizable in the simile
She has a mind like a sponge!
I like the word picture of "spending the night with the chickens!" If we can't find a preexisting proverb or idiom, I'd like to generate one today:
He soaks up language like a sponge!