Bonggi is a Western Austronesian language spoken by approximately 1,500 people who primarily live on Banggi and Balambangan islands in the Kudat District of Sabah, Malaysia. Outside of Banggi and Balambangan islands, the largest group of Bonggi speakers is located in Kudat which is the primary market town for people coming to the mainland from the surrounding islands.
Outsiders usually call the island “Banggi” and use the exonym “Banggi” to refer to the people; however, the Bonggi refer to the island and themselves by the autonym Bonggi. We use the term Bonggi because banggi means “corpse” in the Bonggi language. Banggi can also be used as a curse, comparable to saying in English “Drop dead!”