What is the grammatical name and function for this string?
- the countless flashes of red from swords and spears
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
It's quite obviously a noun phrase — an NP in trade lingo.
And that’s all we can say about it. It has no grammatical function because it's freestanding. You have to actually use it as an actual syntactic constituent before we can discern its grammatical function. Right now, it has none.
NPs typically form the core arguments to a verb, so verbs’ subjects, complements, or objects. But NPs can also be used in other ways such as in apposition to another NP or as a prepositional object. People also often use NPs as a title, such as for a book or chapter or play or piece of artwork like a photo or a painting.