Pedernales Falls is beautiful, there’s no debate about that. The question is, how do you pronounce it? Photo by JoAnna Kopp

Pedernales Falls is beautiful, there’s no debate about that. The question is, how do you pronounce it? Photo by JoAnna Kopp

Don’t stick out like a sore thumb when you visit the Highland Lakes. Mispronouncing the name of a city or a landmark is an immediate sign you’re not a local. No need to worry, though, because we put together this handy pronunciation guide for the Highland Lakes.
Where: Burnet
How locals say it: Burn-it
Burnet is the seat of Burnet County and is best-known as the Bluebonnet Capital of Texas and the site of the annual Bluebonnet Festival. Remember the pronunciation with this simple rhyme: “It’s Burnet, durnit. Learn it.”


Where: Pedernales
How locals say it: Perd-in-alice
Pedernales Falls State Park is a beautiful piece of the Texas Hill Country just outside of Johnson City, and the Pedernales River flows for about 100 miles through Central Texas. However, only visitors pronounce it the way it is spelled. President Lyndon B. Johnson, whose childhood home is in in Johnson City, pronounced it “Perd-in-alice,” and that’s what stuck.


Where: Llano
How locals say it: Lanno
This small rural town is the place to go for deer hunting and true Texas barbecue. Llano is named after the Spanish word for “flat,” based off its wide-open terrain. The double “L” is not pronounced as a “Y” as it would be in correct Spanish. So use a hard “L” when you’re talking about the city or the river.


Where: Kingsland
How most Highland Lakes residents say it: Kingslind. But if you’re from Kingsland, you say “King’s Land.”
The small town sits at the intersection of the Llano and Colorado rivers on Lake LBJ. Kingsland locals pronounce it with a thick Texas drawl, emphasizing "Land." But don't worry if you say it the other way: The difference is so slight, you won’t get called out. It's named after the man who settled the community. His last name was King, and, well, it was his land. 


Where: Buchanan
How locals say it: Buh-canan, rather than the more common "Byoo-canan."
Lake Buchanan is the first and largest of the Highland Lakes — which, some would argue, makes it the best. It’s named after James P. Buchanan, who was a Texas representative for 24 years in the early 1900s.


Where: Blanco
How locals say it: Blank-o
Blanco is Spanish for “white," and just like with Llano, we threw the proper Spanish pronunciation out the window. Locals say “Blank-o” and will surely give you a blank stare if you pronounce it any other way.


Where: Tow
How locals say it: They pronounce the “o” like in the word “cow.”
If you ever break down in Tow and need a tow (long "o" here), make sure you know you’re pronouncing everything right. The city of Tow is located off of the west banks of Lake Buchanan. 


Where: Krause Springs
How locals says it: Krow-see with a short "o" like in "cow"
Located in Spicewood, Krause Springs is a Hill Country oasis. The park is perfect for camping and the swimming hole is among the best in Texas. Krause is a distinctly German family name that locals make their own by adding an unnecessary syllable.


Where: Oakalla
How locals say it: Oak Alley
The community of Oakalla, located in the northeastern tip of Burnet County, was actually named Oak Alley by the region's early settlers because of its unique landscape. When it came time for those early residents to have their own post office, the town was spelled Oakalla. Locals still call it Oak Alley in homage to the early settlers (or to spite confused travelers).

Keep these pronunciations in mind when visiting the Highland Lakes, and you’ll fit right in with the locals.

JoAnna Kopp
Author: JoAnna Kopp