There have been limited studies of subjective tongue function over long-term follow-up in spite of swallowing and articulation disorders are common complications of glossectomy. To assess long-term subjective swallowing and articulation function after partial glossectomy. A total of 63 patients with the mobile tongue cancer who underwent partial glossectomy without reconstruction were interviewed to score their swallowing and articulation function on a 100-point scale. The relation of this subjective scoring to the perioperative data was subjected to multivariate analysis. The mean patient age was 53·4 (19–81) years, and the mean follow-up duration was 78·9 (14–277) months. Mean swallowing and articulation function score was 87·7 ± 6·1 and 88·6 ± 5·4. Age, follow-up duration, T stage and resection volume were significantly correlated with swallowing function (P = 0·026, 0·029, 0·016, 0·002, respectively); follow-up duration was correlated with articulation function (P = 0·039). Patients who undergo partial glossectomy without reconstruction generally demonstrate good function on long-term follow-up. Subjective dysfunction was correlated with larger resection volume, older age and shorter follow-up duration.