Before getting to il nocciolo (the kernel) of this lesson, let’s get a little background.
Dunque is primarily a conjunction similar to allora (in that case, at that time, so, well), quindi (therefore, so), and perciò (for this reason).
E dunque dovrei andare con il sette.
And therefore (so) I should go with the seven.
Caption 17, Briscola: Regole del gioco - Part 2 of 2
E dunque, per me essere madre vuol dire parecchio...
And well, for me being a mother means a lot...
Caption 15, Essere... - madre
But to get to the point, the crux, the heart of this lesson: dunque is also used as a noun in the expressions venire al dunque (to come to the point), andare al dunque (to get to the point), and arrivare al dunque (to get to the point). It means getting to the reason for the conversation, or the real subject. It’s a good expression to know when the conversation is dragging on, or if you need a quick conclusion. In this week’s new episode of Commissario Manara, Luca is questioning someone and doesn’t want to waste time beating around the bush.
Le dispiace se andiamo subito al dunque?
Do you mind if we get right to the point?
Caption 5, Il Commissario Manara: Reazione a Catena - Ep 6 - Part 5
Be careful how and when you use this expression, because it implies impatience. However, you can also use it to refer to yourself, when you want to be concise.
Vengo subito al dunque.
I’ll get right to the point.
Dunque stands for “the reason for this conversation or this meeting,” and is part of an idiomatic expression. When referring to the point itself, punto (point) does the trick just fine.
Però non è questo il punto, zia.
But that's not the point, Aunt.
Caption 37, Il Commissario Manara: Rapsodia in Blu - Ep 3 - Part 9 of 17
Another alternative is nocciolo. Il nocciolo is the kernel or pit of a peach or other fruit. It’s the heart of the matter. Note that the accent is on the first syllable. If we put it on the second syllable it becomes a hazelnut tree!
Arriviamo al nocciolo della faccenda.
Let’s get to the heart of the matter.
Try starting out your thoughts with an introductory allora (well, so), and then repeat the sentence using dunque, to get the feel of that. In this case, dunque becomes one of those words to use as a filler, when you’re thinking of what to say. See this lesson on using allora as a filler word. Then try using dunque in a sentence, where you might put the more common quindi (therefore, so). Do a Yabla search for some examples.
Pretend you’re in a meeting that’s getting out of hand. Learn some of the expressions above (using the verbs arrivare, andare, venire) so that they’re ready when you need them.
Just for fun:
Dunque, sarebbe meglio arrivare presto al dunque, perché siamo già andati fuori orario. Qual’è il nocciolo della questione, dunque?
Well, it would be better to get to the point soon, because we’ve already gone overtime. So, what’s the crux of the matter?