When describing things generally in English it is common to (metaphorically?) refer to “bodies”: the human body, a body of water, the body politic, etc. The picture below here is a camera body.
What kind of camera body? It is a single reflex camera body, or SLR. But there are two types of SLR – film or digital. This one is a digital SLR. Many companies make digital SLR cameras and this one in particular is made by Nikon. Nikon produces a range of digital SLR cameras in two main formats. One of them uses a full-frame sensor and the other uses a smaller, crop sensor. Nikon calls these FX- or DX-format cameras. The one above is a Nikon FX-format digital SLR camera. In the FX-format range, this one is an entry-level model, which Nikon has called the “D750”. It is a popular model. Here it is on Amazon:
Notice however, that you have to buy a lens for the camera separately. So this is only the camera body for sale. At quite a good price.
If we put all of this information together we get a group of words:
Nikon D750 FX-format Digital SLR Camera Body
This forms what is called the Nominal Group. Although there are many words in the group above, it is actually only comprised of two parts: a Head Noun (“body”) and long string of Classifiers that tell us what kind of Head. We know they are all Classifiers for two reasons. They either do not “accept degrees of comparison or intensity” ( we cannot say it is a very digital camera) or they are “organized in mutually exclusive and exhaustive sets” (there are only a certain number in the set of Dxxx Nikon cameras) with which to “classify a set of things into a system of smaller sets” (H&M, p.377). Importantly for EFL learners is that we use Classifiers from the outside in. For example, a long product description like “Dyson Ball Multi Floor Origin High Performance HEPA Filter Upright Vacuum” would be referred to casually first as a ‘Dyson Vacuum’, then as a ‘Dyson Ball Upright Vacuum’, and so on.
At times though, we may want to do more than just classify something. We may want to describe it using what are termed ‘epithets‘. Here is an excerpt from an Amazon review:
I could not get good snaps … with this defective camera.
Looking at the underlined words, we can see that they function in two different ways. The first, “good”, gives us the author’s subjective opinion of the pictures, while the second, “defective”, presents some objective property of the camera itself. These are called attitudinal Epithets and experiential Epithets respectively (H&M, p.376).
Additionally, it may be necessary to distinguish between talking generally about cameras (“I want a camera”) or one specific camera (“I want the D750″), a specific location (“I want that camera”), or a specific person (“I want her camera”). This is the Deictic element of the noun group. It may also be necessary to indicate how many belong to a particular class using a Numerative, which may also be definite (“Those two cameras on the bottom left are made by Olympus”) or indefinite (“I have several cameras”).
These elements of the noun group all combine in a certain fixed order, as in this example from H&M (p.364):