Ponosakan is a small language that shares its closest linguistic affinities with the much larger Bolaang-Mongondow language. Together these two languages comprise the Mongondowic branch of the Gorontalo-Mongondow languages.
Ponosakan is, or rather was, spoken in the villages of Belang, Borgo, Buku and Tababo, and in a portion of Molompar village (Merrifield and Salea 1996:293, for village locations see the sketch map of Belang district on page 278). These villages are located on the southeastern coast of the northern peninsula of Sulawesi, facing the Molucca Sea.
The Ponosakan language has been in decline for several decades. Sneddon (1983a) reported 3,000 speakers of Ponosakan, while Noorduyn (1991:53) reported only 2,000. More recently Lobel (2011:273) has reported only five remaining elderly speakers.
Lobel, Jason William. 2011. Dr. Hj. Hunggu Tadjuddin Usup, 1940–2010: Northern Sulawesi linguist. Oceanic Linguistics 50:273-274.
Merrifield, Scott; and Martinus Salea. 1996. North Sulawesi language survey. (Summer Institute of Linguistics Publications in Sociolinguistics, 1.) Dallas: SIL.
Noorduyn, J. 1991. A critical survey of studies on the languages of Sulawesi. (Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde, Bibliographic Series 18.) Leiden: KITLV Press.
Sneddon, J. N. (compiler.) 1983. Northern Celebes (Sulawesi). Language atlas of the Pacific area, part 2: Japan area, Taiwan (Formosa), Philippines, mainland and insular South-east Asia (Pacific Linguistics, C‑67), edited by Stephen A. Wurm and Shirô Hattori, map 43. Canberra: Australian National University, Australian Academy of the Humanities and The Japan Academy.