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A non-native speaker of Portuguese has asked me to explain what "vê lá, hein!" means.

context:

  • pai ― "Sua mãe e eu vamos viajar e vamos ficar fora uma semana. Eu ouvi que seu primo Henrique disse que vai aproveitar e vem passar alguns dias aqui. Vocês dois vão ficar sozinhos... isso me preocupa."

  • filha ― Ora, papai, eu já tenho dezesseis anos e sei muito bem cuidar de mim. Não preciso de conselhos.

  • pai ― Vê lá, hein"

I was going to tell him it means "assim espero" (so I hope) but it just doesn't seem to convey the right meaning. It pretty much depends on intonation too, from a gentle "vê lá, hein!" to a loud and angry "vê lá, hein!". In this particular case it would be the latter.

  • I think "Vê lá, hein" or "Olha lá, hein" can also mean "make sure you will really accomplish what you said". – Yuuza Apr 24 '16 at 20:23
  • @BrunoLopes But would the father speak in a loud and angry voice if that's what he meant? – Jacinto Apr 24 '16 at 20:47
  • Centaurus, notei o «sua mãe» e o «vê lá». Vê lá é uma expressão fixa que os pais usam com os filhos independentemente de os tratarem por tu ou por você? Ou poderia ser também veja lá? – Jacinto Apr 24 '16 at 21:06
  • @Jacinto Well, from what I understood from the dialogue, "Vê lá, hein" in this context is said seriously, not necessarily angry. Or, following what you said in your answer, by "Vê lá, hein" it could also mean something like "Olha!" in a angry tone, which would mean "Que maneiras são essas, menina!?". – Yuuza Apr 24 '16 at 23:30
  • @Jacinto Yes, in the written language "sua" requires "veja" for the sake of agreement.. In spoken pt-BR and, more specifically in Rio de Janeiro, however, we tend to use the third person singular rather than the second, when we address someone. When we use "tu", you'd be surprised (and maybe outraged) to hear us overlooking any grammar rules. It's very common to hear people say "tu vai", "tu soube", "tu quer"... Then again, "vê lá, hein" is much more common here than "veja lá, hein". In Rio it's somewhat of a fixed-phrase. That's why I made a slip and also overlooked agreement. – Centaurus Apr 25 '16 at 1:00
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In my experience as a European Portuguese speaker, vê lá in this context generally means:

Be careful with what you do or say; think of the consequences.

Now here we´re told it is a loud and angry vê lá. The daughter’s reply («não preciso de conselhos» or «I don’t need (your) advice») is the only reason I can see for the father’s anger. So I would interpret this vê lá as a warning for the daughter to watch her tongue. It would be like saying:

You be careful how you talk to me or there will be consequences.

For the sake of completeness, in a calm, even if severe, tone, vê lá would likely be meant as an exhortation for the daughter to behave wisely with her cousin.

Just a note on the individual words. Ver generally means see, but it can also mean examine, consider. I think it is this latter meaning that gave rise to vê lá. generally means there, but here it is just a filler, a bit like here in look here. And hein (também grafado hem) is an interjection, in this case reinforcing what was said before; it could be interpreted as are we understood?

  • Are we understood is a good translation in many, perhaps most, cases. – bfavaretto Apr 25 '16 at 1:11
  • As I mentioned in the question, there is an angry tone in the father's voice, different from "Tu pretendes sair às 9 horas e o teu voo parte às 10? Vê-la se não vais chegar atrasado." where it sounds more like a piece of advice. – Centaurus Apr 25 '16 at 1:19
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    @Centaurus I agree. I think the common thread in all usage is be careful (how you talk to me; how you behave with your cousin; so you won't be late, etc.) – Jacinto Apr 25 '16 at 11:01
  • @bfavaretto Following suggestions or questions, e se fôssemos à praia, heim? foi um granda jogo, heim? it's more like what do you say? It basically reiterates what you said before. – Jacinto Apr 25 '16 at 11:10
  • @Jacinto I first I thought it was a typo but now I see that you spell "hein" with an "m". Is that the pt.PT spelling? – Centaurus Apr 25 '16 at 14:09

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