In linguistics (and phonetics), segment is used primarily “to refer to any discrete unit that can be identified, either physically or auditorily, in the stream of speech” (after A Dictionary of Linguistics & Phonetics, David Crystal, 2003, pp. 408–409).
In phonology, there is a subfield of segmental phonology. It deals with the analysis of speech into phonemes (or segmental phonemes), which correspond fairly well to phonetic segments of the analysed speech.
A word of caution, though, must be taken when analyzing the inventory of segmental units in any given language. Some segments may be simply marginal segments. This is the case with onomatopoeic words, or with loan words, where sounds exist only in a few specific words, but are not generally found throughout the entire language. In fact, onomatopoeic words and especially loan words are often the source of new segments being accepted into the general phonology of a language.
David Crystal, A Dictionary of Linguistics & Phonetics, Blackwell, 2003. Info at Google Print.
Carlos Gussenhoven & Haike Jacobs, "Understanding Phonology", Hodder & Arnold, 1998. 2nd edition 2005.
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